Since it is 500 years after the death of Leonardo Da Vinci, Italy is celebrating the anniversary with exhibitions, pageants, and local theatrical performances. The country is floooded with events and is encouraging all of us to explore new places and lesser known facts about Leonardo.
I had taken up the opportunity to combine my love of hiking on an easy trail between Anghiari and Sansepolcro to follow the itinerary of the Florentine soldiers in the crucial BattleofAnghiari of 29 June, 1440. The Battle, played out on the plain between the two towns, was to be colorfully recounted by various local actors along the trail. Unfortunately the performance was cancelled due to stormy weather predictions.
However curiosity had got the better of me and I drove to Anghiari early morning well before the storm and spent a very pleasant few hours exploring the nooks and crannies of this beautiful medieval village. Along the way to set the mood I stopped at Ponte Buriano bridge to contemplate the scene with Da Vinci, since it is this bridge which features in the background of the MonaLisa.
Da Vinci contemplating Ponte Buriano
Garibaldi welcomed me into the historical centre of Anghiari, a popular statue in towns all over Italy. Shortly after I was to cross the moat, or where it was once, through the drawbridge gateway that protected it from foreign invaders.
I had stepped back in time; winding alleyways, opened onto intimate piazzas, overlooked by medieval buildings now incorporated into Renaissance palaces. It was beautiful!
Painted on the wall built to separate Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank
Banksy artworks exploded with abrasive truths in Florence’s elegant Medici Riccardi Palace, an early residence of the Medici family. Such a contrast to Banksy’s urban walls of London or crumbling war torn walls of Palestine and, as far as I know, we have no Banksy street art anywhere round town. The exhibition has been a great success and in fact extended its closure by a month so we were fortunately still in time to see it.
The story of this artist is unique, his identity still unknown, at best thought to be English, born around 1973 and still continuing to surprise, shock and delight audiences with his predominantly stencil style artwork.
I read of his early installations, that brought Banksy to world attention -like ‘Turf War’ 2003 which included pigs painted in police colours, sheep painted in concentration camp stripes and a cow covered in images of Andy Warhol’s face. It created something of a furore as ‘animal activists chained themselves to the entrance and just prior to the opening Banksy had left a message to say there were 40 lousy bottles of red wine available but it was best if spectators brought their own’!
At ‘Barely Legal’ in 2006 he stunned audiences with his live painted elephant blending into the décor. A statement on world poverty….although “the meaning of the stunt appeared to be lost on some observers.” (BBC news comment)
We bounced from slogan to slogan:
amidst satirical and brazen statements against authority :
Banksy’s monkey produced in 2002 ‘attests to the arrogance of humanity towards other species’ and dare I twist that to be a relevant statement on our world of today!
And take a closer look at what his ‘Grannies’ are knitting!
There were also some of his more dramatic pieces as potent in their message today as when they were originally painted.
Inspired by a famous photograph during the Vietnam war of the 9yr old girl burnt by American napalm bombs running from her village. Banksy is showing ‘the contrast between reality and perception, how the US perceives itself and how it is perceived by others.’
The elderly person unaware that death is so close in the form of a gigantic circular saw, is interpreted as Banksy’s unhappy childhood memories by the seaside or an invitation to make the most of every moment?
Other images less dramatic yet as powerful in their message and gathering some embarrassed laughs from the present audience. We were loving it and we had not come to the final shock…….
Sale ends today
Banksy’s most popular work ‘Girl with Balloon’ took pride of place, an image known to us all. Even recently it was used on a poster for Climate Change at last Fridays for Future march, the balloon substituted with mother earth. And I am sure Banksy would be supportive of the change.
But the final shock was still to come. We watched the video of ‘Girl with Balloon’ being auctioned at Sotheby’s for the grand price of £860,000 and were as staggered as those present to see it slowly shredded as soon as the Auctioneers hammer came down!
Banksy’s final word on capitalism? He is certainly determined to get his message across but the stunt seemingly backfired. The shredder got stuck and only half of the work was shredded and the Art world is now saying it is probably worth twice as much!?
His works are endless, stimulating, sensational and forever thought provoking, so if you would like to see more, check this video.
While I am back to the cold Winter of Italy now, and welcomed back with a dose of flu, my memories of a superb Aussie trip remain vivid. I have been submersed in the endless Australian outback for most of January; experiencing its wildness, drooping under its heat, forever stimulated by its quirky elements, blown away by its beauty and entranced by the monotonous countryside that make it so typically “Aussie”.
Having read about the relatively new development of painted silos we were on a mission to explore these unique artistic sites along the Art Silo trail. We drove more than four hours from Melbourne through miles and miles of dry wheat lands, dotted sparsely with gum trees that offered little shade to the occasional herds of sheep seeking shelter from the harsh sun. We had come all this way, lured by the tales of the wheat silos now boasting magnificent murales spread over 200 kms in 6 locations by 6 different artists. We were on the lookout for silos looming 30m tall mostly built around the 1930’s and now no longer used for storage for transport by rail. Lured also by such fanciful Aussie place names with Aboriginal heritage like Patchewollock, – ‘putje’ meaning plenty and ‘wallah‘ meaning porcupine grass, Rupanyup meaning ‘branch hanging over water’, Brim signifying ‘spring of water’
Patchewollock was to be the start of our Silo trail and having seen the relative remoteness of the town and its limited services we opted for the charm of an old weatherboard church converted into a B&B at the nearby town of Sea Lake – probably taking its name from the salty Lake Tyrrell, a desolate mirage of a Lake!
Sea Lake church accommodaion
Our first silo was painted by a Brisbane artist Fintan Magee in Oct 2016 and depicted a local farmer ‘Noodle Hulland‘ seemingly chosen for his slim build appropriate to the narrow silo and with such a classic farmer look. The striking blue of his shirt and jeans sitting so comfortably against the crystal blue sky.
Our next meeting with local characters – Geoff and Merrilyn Horman, was at Lascelles silo. The faces of the couple appear like enormous photographs, homage to a proud couple whose families have farmed the area for four generations. Painted by Melbourne artist Rone.
While these grain silos are now closed, in the past they were a place for the farming communities to come together during harvest, exchange news and stories and re-connect with old friends while the grain was loaded. Strengthening community ties just like Italians do at grape or olive harvests. To now see these people captured for real for all the world to see, must be a point of enormous pride, a great tribute to the farming community.
And we were still only at the beginning, our next Silo was at Rosebery by artist Kaff-eine. Highlighting the young female sheep farmers now so much a part of the local farming scene alongside the more traditional stockman image. Look closely and you will see me propped between the silos to give an idea of the scale of these monsters. The video clip below shows the small community of Rosebery and what this Wimmera Mallee region is all about.
Moving on to Brim where the whole movement began in 2016 with the first mural by Guido Van Helten. A quartet of multi generational male and female farmers.
As the blazing sunshine and cloudless sky continued we ventured on to the Sheep Hills silo depicting Aboriginals from the Barengi Gadjin Land Council, painted by local Mebourne artist Adnate.
Sheep Hills Silo
And finally our last Silo at Rupanyup painted by Russian artist Julia Volchkova. This time featuring two local teenagers dressed in their sports gear – Ebony Baker and Jordan Weidmann. They will certainly have something to show their children when they grow up!
In between these Silos we found many still waiting on their murals, so there are sure to be more in the future as well as across the other States which have already taken on board the same idea. The experience for us has been awesome and a real eye opener on life in this wheat farming area, where hearts and souls are as big and hard working as the Silos themselves. And it’s not only the Silos that are enormous, even the Mallee fowl get pretty huge!
It’s time for us to drive into our evening stay at the Horsham caravan park to relax after the gruelling heat of the day.The sunset over the river a perfect end to a superb day on the Art Silo Trail.
The sound of water flowing, amid digital images of Florence at the time of Leonard da Vinci welcome visitors into the stimulating exhibition of Da Vinci, The Scientist – ‘Water as Microscope of Nature’ The exhibition is a temporary one in the Uffizi Gallery till the end of January 2019, and one not to be missed.
The exhibition displays original pages of Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester written between 1504-1508 focusing on water – “investigating its elementary structure, vortex movements, and mechanical and optical properties, as well as the technical solutions for exploiting it to the benefit of humanity…….exploring the analogies between water and air, and between the movements of fish and birds.” (Info at Exhibition)
Pages from Codex Leicester
Scribbled in Da Vinci’s unmistakable left handed scrawl from right to left, that exudes an intensity of concentration and precision. Meticulous designs of water flows, rock stratifications, light reflections, birds in flight and more. Precise drawings of machines – an odometer to measure distance, a centrifugal pump for draining marshes, underwater foundations for bridges and weirs, solutions to regulate the quantity and velocity of water drawn from siphons, riverside constructions to combat erosion….the list was endless and fascinating.
Da Vinci’s Odometer
‘He takes the human body as the model for elucidation of the physiology and dynamics of the Earth…. he speculates on the dynamic balance of the earth’s gravity….and offers practical advice to seamen from his understanding of hydrodynamics’
The digital presentations of his various machinery are mesmerising in their originality and creativity, providing us with the basis of many modern machines. He was interested in, and obsessively drew, the bit by bit analysis of every moving part in the machine and its contribution to the transfer of motion. The man was a true genius!
His theatrical mechanisms for court pageants, ‘allowing actors to rise and descend and float as if they were flying’ (Walter Isaacson) and from his studies of physics he truly believed that it was possible to build a winged mechanism that would allow humans to fly.
He was known to always carry notebooks which hung from his belt, constantly collecting ideas and scribbling observations of his surroundings from a technical, scientific and artistic point of view. His notes were transferred to the various manuscripts – Codex – of which more than 7200 pages exist today, considered to be only one-quarter of what Leonardo actually wrote, and which he had intended to publishing. “The most astonishing testament to the powers of human observation and imagination ever set down on paper” (Toby Lester “Da Vinci’s Ghost”)
His paintings elicit his geological theories on rock stratification as seen in the background of the Mona Lisa, and his studies of the impact of solar rays on the tint of the sky or secondary light he uses on the cheeks of Ginevra de Benci and The Virgin.
Leonardo was known to be slow and methodical in his artistic life, leaving many works of art, as well as machines and instruments unfinished or never started beyond a few draft etchings in his notebooks. After all, he took 16 years to finish the Mona Lisa, carrying it with him on his travels outside of Florence and Italy, constantly adding finishing touches!
Uffizi proudly displays another masterpiece, his unfinished, ‘Adoration of the Magi’ 1481-1482
Having just finished reading Walter Isaccson‘s biography on “Leonardo Da Vinci” the exhibition was in perfect timing to explore more and see the real documents of the Codex Leicester. An exhilarating experience and a super presentation of the Scientific mind and genius of Leonardo da Vinci.
On a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, my first in some years and to be one of many during the course, I took time out to visit the temporary Exhibition – Islam and Florence and bumped into my first giraffe – stuffed!
As I was about to take a photo, the staff leapt on me to say “No photos allowed” but to not leave you disappointed ‘this official video’has captured the giraffe together with many of the fabulous objects on display.
‘The Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, probably not unaware that a “camelopard” had taken part in Julius Caesar’s triumph in Rome, sent a giraffe as a gift to Lorenzo the Magnificent, which made a spectacular entry into Piazza della Signoria on 18 November 1487. The exotic beast is reported to have been so greatly admired and to have caused such a sensation that even the cloistered nuns were eager to see it. As portrayed in the affresco of Giorgio Vasari in palazzo Vecchio. Unfortunately the giraffe did not last long, breaking its neck in an accident in the stable specially built for it on 2 January, the following year. The second giraffe, also stuffed, came as a gift from Egypt in 1835, to Leopoldo II and lived in the Boboli gardens for about a year and a half.’ (Uffizi brochure). The photo above of the affresco shows a mixed reaction amongst the locals and one can only imagine their astonishment at seeing a giraffe in the piazza…..even today! The giraffes sadly came to a sorry end.
A drawing of Lorenzo’s giraffe – a watercolour of a Barbary Moor with a giraffe
Various generations of Medici‘s, from Lorenzo the Magnificent to the Grand Duke Cosimo I were known to be lovers of the exotic and major collectors of precious items from the Orient together with other private collectors and antiquarians. The exhibition was split between the Uffizi Gallery and the Bargellomuseum with a stunning range of exquisite carpets, gilded containers, magnificent jewelled ornaments and arms and delicately carved ivory chests. All beautifully displayed before a background of a thousand and one Oriental stars under soft lighting. ( This photo taken from the brochure does not do them justice).
In amongst the exhibits were also some paintings, indicating how much this exchange of culture influenced artists at the time. A period when Florence was powerful; economically, politically and culturally. A city of rich bankers and merchants ‘wheeling and dealing’ with the world and wanting to boast about their wealth and perhaps, book a place in paradise by commissioning works of art like this one.
Palla Strozzi, the richest banker of Florence commissioned Gentile da Fabriano to do ‘The Adoration of the Magi’ (1423) a theme often repeated, as many, including the Medici, identified themselves as ‘the Magi‘ of the time! Heavily dosed with gold and sumptuous costumes in a luxurious ambience with some cheeky non religious details – the page kneeling to remove the spurs, monkeys playing and Palla Strozzi and his father prominently featured in the red hat and with a falcon!
To show the Islamic influence you need to zoom in on the aureole to see Arabic scripts embossed in the gold.
In class we were told that the Roman elite delighted in eating exotic animals at their banquets, giraffes and zebras included….Possibly even the one in Julius Cesare’s triumphal return?
The ‘Adoration of the Magi’ by Domenico Ghirlandaio (right 1482-90)) and ‘Procession of Three Kings‘ by Andrea del Sarto (left 1510-11) show in the background, yet another giraffe as part of the procession. The fascination with these leopard style camels continues….!
As seen in the video, the exhibition had an eclectic mix, making a fascinating tour of past splendours and confirmation of the appreciation, consideration and integration of Islamic culture.
And to keep the kids interested the Uffizi provide a quiz and games of which I have stolen just a couple of examples which I thought you might like to try: Fit the colour to the country and …….how could I go past this join the dots!
This year’s exhibition at Forte Belvedere is Gong – “It is an almost shamanic exercise, aimed at exploring the sublime of the cosmos, the orbits of the planets and stars, the rhythms and geometries that belong to the infinite universe, so as to draw stellar maps that today, just like millions of years ago, also function in symbolic, ritualistic terms.” byArtistEliseo Mattiacci
Unfortunately the guardian of this enormous Gong did not allow the public to go wild and give it a good bash. It was definitely the best exhibit!
An unusual presentation of grand metal structures, which did not enthuse me as much as other exhibitions I had seen and posted about in years gone by. But then it’s always a good excuse to revisit one of the most peaceful and panoramic places of Florence during the Summer period of tourist crowds.
We waited for Aliens to land in the middle of ‘Cosmic Order‘….alas in vain, and then headed inside the Fortress to relax in the shade.
We were in for a treat later at sunset with a wine tasting from one of the historic vineyards of Tuscany – Frescobaldi. To be followed by an itinerant theatre performance from “LaCompagnia delle Seggiole” who regularly perform at historic sites, bringing to life tales of the place and characters that were part of its history. And what better time to see the Fortress, as the sun’s rays bathe Florence and fade into the city’s night lights.
Forte Belvedere is the second and largest fortress to be built in Florence in1590 – 1595, by order of Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici.
Fortifications were significant in the 16th century and at that period in Florence a demonstration of the Medici’s power and wealth. Its location is strategic as it overlooks almost the entire city and surrounding area. In addition to this, the fort served as a garrison for troops for over 100 years after its completion.
Our theatre performers are part of that garrison, ‘a garrison that awaits the enemies, the siege, the never ending wait, the miraculous hour that at least once touches everyone’.
Since the enemies do not arrive, and life passes inexorable, the garrison addresses us with what it sees every day, what is understood of that place and the city seen from up there’ A humorous mix of daily issues that confront the soldiers and demands of the Medici family to ensure their personal protection and the defence of their city.
Photo credits La Compagnia delle Seggiole
An entertaining insight into the characters that lived and defended our beautiful city of Florence from these ancient walls.
A day in Bologna to see masterpieces never before exhibited outside of the Russian State Museum of St Petersburg on the centenary of the Russian revolution . Entitled ‘Revolutija‘ – it relates those tumultuous days through the eyes of famous artists such as Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall, and stars of the avant-garde….displaying the extraordinary modernity of the cultural movements of Russia at that time from Primitivism to Cubo-Futurism up to Suprematism, Expressionism and pure abstract art’ Wow!
’17 Oct 1905′ by Il’Ja Repin
We were just in time as the exhibition closed on the weekend, and was definitely not to be missed! Information boards recounted Russian history and important events leading up to the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and photographs, old film footage highlighted the harsh reality of the period. It was rich with atmosphere and drama, strengths and fragilities, joy and sadness. An overwhelming mix of superb works of art.
‘Portrait of Poetress Anna Achmatova’ by Natan Al’Than 1915
‘Dinner’ by Aleksandr Drevin 1915
Such a plethora of information on the audio guide that I needed to circle the exhibition more than once to have time and head space to just savour the artworks and let them do their own talking as well as watch the old film screening. Political and social unrest with workers striking about their dismal conditions, peasants protesting about their miserable earnings, student unrest, and reactions against the Tsar and the repressive measures that occurred during demonstrations often ending in massacres. Disturbing and turbulent times indeed.
Two peasant girls by Filipp Maljavin 1910
‘ Village’ by Boris Grigor’ev 1918
I instantly fell in love with Malevich, a new artist discovery for me, as I could not take my eyes of his beautiful symbolic geometric representations, intriguing secrets hidden in the abstractness, evoking compassion, making statements, strong and bold. But then I am passionate about futurist painters which Malevich was initially a part and later became the father of ‘Suprematism – the belief that Suprematist art would be superior to all art of the past, and that it would lead to the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts…. a search for the ‘zero degree’ of painting, the point beyond which the medium could not go without ceasing to be art.’ His famous paintings of bold black squares, circles or crosses on white became the symbol of his ‘zero degree’ art.
‘Portrait of artist Ivan Kljun’ Malevich 1913
‘Complex Feelings’ Malevich 1932
‘Girls in the fields’ 1928 by Kazimir Malevich
Black Circle, Square, Cross by Malevich 1923
From strong and bold to the delicate and rather joyful depiction of Chagall in a self portrait with his wife Bella, and ‘the colourful even fun ‘On White’ by Wassily Kandinsky.
The exhibition ends with a celebration of the International Communist Party congress in 1920 alongside various artists work on the industrial period of the late 1920’s rendering tribute to the workers, ‘the heroes’, in the factories.
‘Textile Department’ by Aleksandr Samochvalov 1929
‘Celebration of International Communist Congress 19 July 1920’ by Boris Kustodiev
So much to take in and complemented by a comprehensive catalogue, that I could not resist, containing even more photos of the period and historic details of the harsh conditions and the creativeness of local artists, not always in line with the political regimes. So if I never get to Russia at least I have seen some of the splendid treasures they house at their State Museum.
Of course after feeding the intellect it was time to feed the stomach….and Bologna‘s famous tortellini spilled out of every corner alongside chunks of well matured Parmesan cheese. Tempting delicacies for everyone’s taste buds.
I have been lucky enough to visit Pompeii about 10 times and each time has fascinated me as much as my first visit, discovering something new every time. Buried under the ash erupting from Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD it provides us with amazing details of everyday life and customs of the ancient world. Many of you may have been with me as we toured the massive Archaeological site with a guide. I regret now never having squeezed in a visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Naples as it has the most fabulous collection of Mosaics, Frescoes and artefacts from Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum. But then it’s not always possible to do everything on tours.
For those of you who have never been to Pompeii or to refresh your memory this video will walk you through this incredible Archaeological site – the Forum, Villas and bath houses. And to think there is at least a third of the city still to be excavated!
Mosaics from Pompeii
I spent a morning in the Archaeological Museum spellbound by the quantity and quality of the collection. Intricate mosaics discovered in the first excavation of Pompeii begun in 1749, a glorious mix of everyday life, exotic animals and theatrical scenes.
These are but a few that were on display together with an assortment of frescoes taken from various Villas in Pompeii, saved for eternity from deterioration on site. Cupids and ladies dancing to the seasons and many with the famous Pompeii red featuring as background to mythological figures. Entire rooms covered with elaborate frescoes demonstrating the wealth of the villa owners, a true feast for the eyes.
And then special rooms dedicated to the erotic side of Pompeii where a school group was huddled embarrassed, giggling and quickly snapping a shot with their smartphones. I wondered if they had read why the phallic symbol was such a part of life then as ‘the male organ was regarded as a talisman of fecundity and prosperity which could also ward off evil influences’. So it was found everywhere; on walls, pavement stones, in front of shops and at home.
And for those families wealthy enough there was an entire range of tableware to keep guests entertained ‘providing an instance of the close association between eros and banqueting…..in crass burlesque spirit’ .
But these were not the only sassy artefacts on display as I came across my old game of knuckles. Who could believe they were playing knuckles in the 1stC and I was still playing the same game in the 1960’s! (Not sure if it has turned into an App these days?!) And ancient dice and gladiators passes to enter the Arena. Unbelievable!
Dice, knuckles and Gladiators passes
The sophistication of the articles on display was mindboggling considering their age. From the highly decorated kitchen utensils, jewellery boxes, modern alabaster and crystal vases to glass funerary urns dating between 3rd-5thC AD. It was stunningly overwhelming.
The elegance of the jewellery box with its bronze mirror, needle, silver jewellery gold plated, delicate bone comb and mermaid decorations….and the beauty of the cameo glass amphora with cupids grape harvesting left me speechless.
And to end the tour at Villa Papyri of Ancient Herculaneum where the owner could delight his guests lounging around the pool with a selection of glamorous statues.
And while this beautiful collection remains safely protected inside the Naples Archaeological Museum it is even more awesome to see what remains on site at Pompeii. The frescoes we found at the Villa of Mysteries in 2012 bowled us all over!
Villa of Mysteries
While my photos hardly do justice to the collection and cover a small portion of what is to be seen I can only suggest next time you are over to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Naples Archaeological Museum.
Welcome back! I hope 2018 has begun well for you all. I start my posts this year with an exhibition from last year, but one not to be missed if it travels your way…
Damien Hirst had me believing in the unbelievable at his exhibition in Venice – ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’. Knowing little about the artist and virtually nothing about the exhibition beforehand made it easy for me to think I had stepped through the looking glass into Alice in Wonderland!
Hirst had on display 189 sunken treasures retrieved off the seabed of the Indian Ocean, together with collections of flints, ingots and remnants of artefacts. The treasures were supposedly part of the hoard of the Apistos, a ship of a freed slave turned art collector, that apparently sank back in the first or second century AD and was rediscovered in 2008.
Just getting past the gigantic 18m+ Demon with a Bowl in the courtyard of Palazzo Grassi was a feat, and at each of the 3 floors of exhibits above he could be admired from every angle. Absolutely incredible, convincingly bronze, yet only painted resin, and assembled in stages as I found out later. From the Demon I became engrossed in the videos where a team of scuba divers worked hard to strap up the treasures found on the sea bed bringing them to safety above…..from the most delicate ancient jewellery to the monstrous sun disc and calendar stone together with Mickey Mouse and Goofy covered in barnacles and seaweed! What’s going on??
In fact the exhibition presents like an archaeological museum with various collections of coins, rare jewellery, precious minerals, weapons, and helmets alongside ‘recovered’ treasures, ‘restored’ treasures and ‘copies’ of treasures……
and the Collector himself, Damien Hirst.
The sheer scale of the exhibits and relative authenticity, especially at the Punta della Dogana, continued to impress, even if I was I being taken for a ride, or on a journey in a time machine. Whatever, I was enjoying the unexpected, the audacity, the joke. As my friend said “you may not like the Art work but whatever it is it must be done well” and these treasures were certainly done well.
As the legend goes ‘the slave accumulated an immense fortune on the acquisition of his freedom. Bloated with excess wealth, he proceeded to build a lavish collection of artefacts…..commissions, copies, fakes, purchases and plunder, which lay submerged for some two thousand years.’
Damien Hirst when asked is it Myth or Fact replied “whatever you choose to believe!”
Still stunned by what we had seen we left the exhibition, passed through the ‘looking glass’ out to the real wonders of Venice…..
The Humans of 2015 are now just a skeleton this year in the ‘Ytalia’ Art Exhibitionat Forte di Belvedere, Florence! No bones about it Florence never fails to surprise me!
As I wandered up to the Fort I thought of the other exhibitions that had fired my passion or uninspired me, yet I always return to this fantastic location and never get tired of the fabulous panorama.
Last year’s Jan Fabre ‘Spiritual Guards’ had an overdose of beetles and crosses for my taste. Although I did like the gold turtle in the main square of Florence. While the Zhang Huan‘s exhibition of Buddhas ‘Soul and Matter’had been a startling reopening to the fortress in 2013.
This year we are treated to polystyrene fiberglass bones covered in gypsum which precariously sway in the breeze and for safety and security reasons have to be tied down!
by Gino de Domincis
The Ytalia exhibition – presented 100 Contemporary Italian works of Art about Energy, Thoughts and Beauty to demonstrate, as the pamphlet blurb read: “how Italian Art has strongly influenced the international artistic community and has been a model to admire the perfect balance between classicism and anticlassicality, eclecticism and purism, invention and citation, immanence and transcendence.”
I have my doubts that the exhibition lived up to its promise but it was still well worth the visit.
Lots of beautiful marble alongside rusty iron and the geometric nature of the exhibits lures the eye into labyrinths and techno prints reflecting Fibonacci’s sequence.
A splash of colour inside the building seems totally unconnected….
and other weird to the absurd exhibits leave me pretty flat!
I am constantly drawn back to the panorama of Brunelleschi’s dome seen between oscillating bleached ribs and lassoed toes, or about to be blow-dried…..
And the typical Tuscan view of cypress trees, olive groves and a stray castle tower at the back of the fortress, while stumbling through marble blocks much to the disdain of the Fort custodian!
So just in case you are in Florence, there is still time to see the ‘Ytalia’ exhibition as it remains open until the 1st Oct and there are more exhibits dotted about town – the Basilica of Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. I would suggest Forte Belvedere any year you may be over for the view, the relaxing alfresco wine and café bar and the cheap entrance fee!