My mental focus is on a Dutch Symbolism artist and the prevalent virgin/whore complex of the fin de siècle, so Italy has to take a bit of a backseat today until I get this magazine art column written. See? I can ramble on about more than just Italian Renaissance rustication. And they pay me! Now if only I could get someone to pay me to go on and on about rustication …
Anyway, as a quick weekly photo challenge entry — and a bit of procrastination — my glow-themed picture is a green, glowy and flowy picture of one of Bologna’s canals taken in August. As I’ve mentioned before, most of Bologna’s canals are now underground, but the city used to be a veritable Venice, or at least Amsterdam. Plus, there’s a bonus video taken that same day, with a bird flying artfully around and a bit of aural sensory experience.
I’ve spent a good portion of the day just looking through the photos I took yesterday in Florence. Most are of the inner courtyard and the exterior of the Palazzo Strozzi, which are as magnificent as I remembered, if not more so. I was a very happy art historian.
While we were there, we took in the new exhibit, The Cinquecento in Florence: “Modern Manner” and Counter-Reformation. I enjoyed getting to see a number of works in person and relatively up close that I’d only seen in my art books. Other pieces were new to me, but still quite familiar, due to the subject matter. As I joked with G yesterday, I can tell an Annunciation just from a quick passing glace out the corner of my eye. I’m not bragging; it’s simply if you focus on Italian Renaissance art as I did for my degree, you tend to recognize the symbolism and general themes.
I’m short on time and still need to do a bit of tweaking to my photos, not to mention the need to go through all 200+ and figure out which ones to use in various posts. The last time I was in Florence I was using a film camera rather than a digital one. In retrospect, it didn’t really stop me from taking a million photos then, either. I just kept buying more film rolls!
To give you a hint of what I saw at the exhibit, here’s the first thing you see upon entering: River God, by Michelangelo and Lamentation over the Dead Christ by Andrea del Sarto. The Michelangelo work isn’t marble, it’s clay, sand, fibers and other ingredients built up over a wire-frame interior. You still see the beautiful form of his figures, down to the folds of the flesh at the stomach as the river god rises and twists. Absolutely stunning. The whole exhibit is worth a visit if you have even a remote interest in art. The colors, the forms, and even some of the sense of humor (intentional or not) in certain works are a joy to see.
So yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. In fact, it’s been so long that I forgot how to start a new post for a brief moment. Ooops! So yeah, life. Let’s leave it at that.
To be honest, I haven’t done much exploring, because I really don’t handle the heat well and it’s been stupid hot this summer. Think 40sC/100sF. But there was one day last month when the weather was nice and I was feeling a bit of cabin fever, so Charlie and I headed out early before the heat returned with a vengeance. It wasn’t the best of timing for photos — too many morning shadows blasted by streams of bright morning sunshine — but that didn’t stop me. It also didn’t stop others who were out and about that morning.
In fact, as I was stopping to admire one of the Bologna canals and thinking I should get a photo of Charlie by the canal, since he’s Dutch and all, a couple approached and started cooing and fawning over him. “Che bello!”
The next thing I know, they’re asking to take a photo of him, so I shift over to the side out of shot and let him become a model at a photo shoot.
Eventually his newest fans moved on and I tried to get a quick shot of my Dutch dog in front of a bicycle in front of a canal — a touch of Dutch in Bologna. He was growing weary of the cameras, though, so I only got one quick shot.
I’m still trying to get a good shot of one of the other canal views, so that will have to wait for another day. But yes, Bologna does have canals. In fact, it used to have canals everywhere! Most are still in existence, but they’ve been built over and hidden away, unfortunately. Still, at least a few are still visible!
I know it’s Saturday. Pretend I posted this yesterday.
This is part of the meridian line in the Basilica di San Petronio. I snuck a quick snap of it on my birthday (which is in March). I was amused to see that the spelling looked more Dutch with the ij, even though the contemporary Dutch word for March is maart. (For the record, the Italian for March is marzo.) As for the meridian line itself, it’s the longest indoor meridian line in the world. More about that and the basilica itself in future posts.
For various reasons, I haven’t had the chance to really get out and go exploring. However, when I do, I always seem to get a little lost and find myself wandering around the same handful of streets, even when I think I’m aiming in another direction. Charlie doesn’t mind and to be honest, it’s part of the fun of getting to know any city. Plus, in the process, you come across some fun Italian architecture surprises, like the one in this fantastic little corner/alley.
It’s located in Bologna’s former Ghetto Ebraico (Jewish Ghetto), which has a long — and often unpleasant — history, but the area is a wonderful place to get lost in. This little spot is just off Piazza San Martino. I love the mix of architectural elements and materials and colors, including some stylized rusticated quoins on the right. Plus, there’s the fabulous mix of angles where buildings just seem to be plopped down wherever they can fit them.
From year to year with my Utrecht blog, I’d do a Foto Friday series. They were either photos that I really liked, but just didn’t have much to say about, or they were photos that weren’t so great, but they amused me for some reason or another. I feel like starting that again. Today’s foto falls under the latter category.
It was a quick shot on the go, taken mainly because it reminded me of the chip shops in Utrecht (and the Netherlands in general). Both are essentially hole-in-the-wall places where you don’t go inside at all. You order right there on the street/sidewalk/portico. This one — one could say being stereotypically Italian — is called Amor di Patata/Love Chips, or perhaps more realistically love of chips/fries/friet/frites/patat. To be honest, I’ll take stereotypical Italian amore over the name of one of the more popular Dutch chains, which is Manneken Pis. Now, the potatoes are excellent at Manneken Pis, but the name (as they’re supposed to be Belgian/Flemish style) refers to that famous Belgian statue/fountain of a little boy peeing. Perhaps not the most appetizing association!
The other thing that amused me about this is the tag line written over the serving area. It says: patatae fritte da passeggio. Ultimately, it basically means “fries to-go”, but when you’re still learning the language and tend to take things more literally, it becomes “fried potatoes walking”. [Insert your own “Dead Man Walking” joke here.]
Hey, get your laughs wherever you can find them!
Also, apologies in advance. After spending the last eight+ years in the Netherlands (and watching a lot of BBC), having a British mother, but still being a native-born citizen of the US, I have no consistency in which term I use for fries/chips/patat/patatae fritte/frites/friet/etc. Most often, though, I will use fries, chips, or patat, but with no regard to the primary language or audience. It’s whatever comes out first!