Monday, 21 December 2015

Fish in the ancient Roman mosaics

Near Rome there is the extensive archaeological area of Ostia Antica.
Ostia at Roman times worked as a port. Goods arriving from the sea often were then transported on the river Tiber.
Ostia was a very populated city and lived there many foreigners, sailors and fishermen.
In the archaeological there are numerous interesting mosaics and some of these reproduce marine subjects.
Fish are often fanciful to put fear to the simple people. Sometimes the fish seem ready to be cooked.

photo a.p

photo a.p.

However the Romans sometimes bred fish and there were also scuba divers.
Fish are also represented in the mosaics of Pompeii (see photo wikipedia) and other ancient Roman cities.

Roman mosaic in Libya-old photo

Mosaic art was very important and popular for the ancient Romans. So in the mosaics were also represented many human activities.
Ostia antica -wikipedia
Ostia antica-Lazio

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Nativity scenes in Rome

The tradition of the Nativity scenes in Italy begins in the Middle Ages and St. Francis personally executed one in Greccio, a village in north of Rome.
In Naples, the people are very fond of this tradition, and there is also a road where they sell the parts people need.
In Naples there is also an interesting museum at the Certosa di San Martino.
In Rome, the tradition is a bit 'different but we say some.
In the ancient church of SS.Cosma and Damiano, not far from the Forum, you can see, almost all year, a beautiful nativity eighteenth-century, Neapolitan style.

The Nativity Scene in SS.Cosma Damiano (photo by Luciano B)
enlargeable pictures

Other interesting nativity scenes are usually set up in many Roman churches and always has a quite successful one proposed in Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
On the subject of the Nativity we mention however two important works: the frescoes by Pinturicchio in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo and the nativity scene sculpted by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1291, now visible in the museum of Santa Maria Maggiore.

fresco by Pinturicchio

Detail of the Nativity sculpted by Arnolfo di Cambio (photo ap)
see the full scene in wikipedia

Many inhabitants of Rome still make the Nativity scene at home and sometimes they build them with pieces of plastic.
There are also very modern representations.

composition of 2011 in Piazza Venezia (photo ap)

Finally, almost every year at Christmas time, is an exhibition near the church of Santa Maria del Popolo.

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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Portelli, exhibition at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence

From 30 December 2015 to 30 April 2016 proposed a new art exhibition in Florence.

The exhibition is dedicated to the painter Carlo Portelli that in the sixteenth century in Florence attended some important art workshops (with Vasari etc).
Tourists will see around 50 works by the artist who at the time was already known for some eccentricity.
Portelli in 1566 with the painting "Immacolata Concezione" shocked many people for the nudity of Eve. However, the artist often had important assignments.
Several paintings by Carlo Portelli, as well as in museums, are also in Florentine churches

details of the painting Martirio di San Romolo in the 
church Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (photo Sailko/wikipedia)


Friday, 4 December 2015

Lorenzetti, restoration of paintings in Siena

Some paintings by Ambrogio Lorenzetti are under restoration in Siena (Santa Maria della Scala).

Several paintings currently in villages around Siena or in the city will be transported in one place to receive treatment and during the work of the restorers, tourists will still be able to admire the artworks. At the end of the restoration planned in the year 2017, there will be a major exhibition about the artist.
Ambrogio Lorenzetti (or Ambruogio Laurati) (c. 1290 –  1348) was an original painter of the Sienese school. The artist is well known because he painted the Allegory of Good and Bad Government a big fresco in the a large fresco in the most important Senese building.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Mattia Preti, a painter in Rome after the time of Caravaggio.

In Rome at the Galleria Corsini in Trastevere, from 28 October 2015 to 18 January 2016, interested persons can admire numerous paintings by Mattia Preti.

The exhibition is organized to commemorate the great artist born in Calabria in 1613 and died in Malta in 1699.
Mattia Preti came to Rome in 1630, twenty years after the death of Caravaggio and during his long stay in Rome he knew the painting of Caravaggio, Guercino, Giovanni Lanfranco and others.
We publish two of the paintings in the exhibition in Rome.

Virgilio, photo by Civita press

Rinaldo and Armida, photo by Civita press

Mattia Preti during the Roman residence also painted some frescoes in a couple of churches.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano and the old kitchens

The beautiful villa- not far from Prato and Florence- was commissioned by Lorenzo de 'Medici  around the year 1480.

the architect of the villa was Giuliano da Sangallo
photo alpy 2012

The villa's gardens are very beautiful and inside the building are preserved several works of art.
The villa can be visited also the small theater that was built by Marguerite Louise d'Orléans (the wife of a duke of Tuscany) and the apartment of Bianca Cappello, who died here in 1587.
In the large hall are visible frescoes by Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, Franciabigio, Alessandro Allori etc.
The villa was also used by the King of Italy, then some of the furniture and decorations are the nineteenth century.
Other villas belonged to the historic Medici family are visited by tourists. Also Villa of Petraia is interesting.
From July 4 to October 25, 2015, visitors can extend their tour by visiting the old kitchen of the villa and a special exhibition. To access some old rooms need to book.
The exhibition shows several ancient paintings of kitchens, cooks and food. Some works of art come from important museums or private collections.

ancient fireplace kitchen-photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini-Civita

painting of Giacomo Ceruti said Pitocchetto - painted in the fifth decade
 of the eighteenth century-photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini-Civita

The private kitchens of the nobles were largely designed and built between 1614 and 1619 during the reign of Cosimo II de 'Medici.
If you choose a hotel in Prato can see also the beautiful cathedral and many beautiful monuments.

Prato cathedral -photo ap

frescos in Prato, photo s.b




Thursday, 18 June 2015

Contemporary art in Brianza

Brianza is an area at the foot of the Alps, in the North-West of Lombardy.  The Brianza is also famous for several beautiful villas built by prestigious people who in time also bought works of art.
From June 28 to October 4, 2015 tourists will see many of these collections of contemporary art.

Points of the exhibition are: Villa Filippini, Palazzo Arese Borromeo, Villa Cusani Traversi Tittoni, Villa Brivio, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lissone.

Palazzo Arese Borromeo in Cesano Maderno, photo by wikimedia (Marcuscalabresus)

Villa Cusani, Traversi, Tittoni in Desio

In different places will be exhibited art works of Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Agostino Bonalumi, Enrico Castellani, Giuseppe Uncini, Roberto Crippa  and others.
Many visitors should find the hotel also in the beautiful city of Monza.

the center of Monza -photo ap
in the blog read also : cathedral of Monza 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Paintings by Filippino Lippi in San Gimignano

At the museums of San Gimignano (Siena) will soon be proposed for public viewing works by Filippino Lippi.
The small but interesting exhibition is scheduled from June 13 to November 1, 2015. For the occasion people will see the two round paintings of 1483 and 1484, some drawings, some ancient manuscripts and Renaissance frames.
Important part of the exhibition are two paintings depicting the one the Angel of the Annunciation, the other the Annunziata. Just as it had been requested in 1482 by the Priors and Captains for the Town Hall of San Gimignano.

exhibition poster

Virgin Annunciate, 1483-84. San Gimignano (photo by Civita)

Studies for the figure of a saint kneeling with a crosier, and for a standing figure with 
a turban- Metal needle, with lead white highlights on grey prepared paper (photo by Civita)

old letter: the Priors and Captains of the Guelph Party earmark an additional sum of thirty lire for the Annunciation  (photo by Civita)
Text translation: for the effigy of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin to adorn the Hall of Hearings. Whereas it has been previously deliberated that an effigy of the Annunciation shall be painted in the Hall of Hearings of this Palazzo as a mark of honour for the community and in celebration of the most glorious Virgin Mary, the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and whereas in that connection nothing has yet been done, in accordance with the proposal of Niccolò di Agostino Abbracciabeni, one of the Priors, it is hereby established that the present Priors and Captains cause to be painted in the Hall of Hearings the effigy of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary on two square or round panels, whichever they consider to be most fitting, for the production of which no more must be spent than the 50 lire already set aside in addition to 30 lire which the present chamberlain will set aside with monies to be taken from the profits accruing from said municipality's vineyards

the old town hall of San Gimignano (photo Geobia/wiki)
HISTORY: in the valley adjacent to San Gimignano in ancient times there were Etruscan settlements. Some legends say that around 63 BC two young Romans built two castles. However the town of San Gimignano is only mentioned in a document of 929. In later times the area was crossed by the Via Francigena. San Gimignano had an appreciable population around the end of the twelfth century.

Valdelsa: landscape of the hills around the river Elsa

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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Paintings by Domenico Veneziano in European museums

Domenico di Bartolomeo called Domenico Veneziano was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance. The artist was born in Venice around 1410 and died in Florence in 1461.
Domenico Veneziano realized several paintings and many of his works are famous.  Some of his paintings in Perugia and Loreto were lost.
Three of his paintings well known in Italy are the Altarpiece Saint Lucia de 'Magnoli (Uffizi museum ), the wood painting Madonna and Child with Saints (Uffizi), the fresco Santi Giovanni Battista e Francesco (Santa Croce museum).  Few people see instead the painting Madonna Berenson preserved in a private collection in Settignano.

Near Florence- in the Villa I Tatti -it is kept the painting Madonna Berenson.
The villa is now managed by a center of Harvard University (

Many works of the famous painter, however, are preserved in various museums in Europe, few in the United States (National Gallery in Washington, 2 little tempera on wood).
We remember some of his paintings now in european cities:

Adoration of the Magi (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin)-image by wikimedia
In Berlin also the fragment "Martirio di Santa Lucia"

portrait of young woman (now in Berlin)
Some historians, however, attribute this painting to other painters

Madonna del Rosario  (National Museum of Art of Romania)
image by wikimedia

Interesting fresco at the National Gallery in London is the Tabernacle Carnesecchi. 
Other paintings by Domenico Veneziano have often uncertain origin. In Chambery (F) is visible a portrait of man. The work of Chambery was also known by the historian Roberto Longhi. It is not excluded that the painting may have been made by the painter Paolo Uccello or others.
Finally at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge there are two nice small parts of the Altarpiece Saint Lucia de 'Magnoli. These parts are:  Miracle of St Zenobius and The Annunciation. It seems that the two pieces have been bought in Italy around 1815.

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Contemporary art in Pienza and Siena

The beautiful town of Pienza hosts from 6 June to 30 August the interesting exhibition of a young Austrian sculptor.

the poster for the exhibition Helga Vockenhuber
Il dono dell'armonia-the gift of harmony

The artist often creates large bronze statues that will be exhibited in Piazza Pio II and Palazzo Piccolomini.
Helga Vockenhuber is often in Tuscany also because there are good foundries that make his job easier.

Piccolomini palace

view of Pienza, photos by sherseydc/steve (flick/wikimedia)
For those who love contemporary art finally we write that in the near Siena it is in progress an exhibition  of the painter Marco Borgianni (Dei ed eroi, city museum, salt warehouses, until August 30) 

Marco Borgianni in Siena
the artist was born in the province of Florence

a work of Bonanni 
The artist was inspired by the Laooconte kept in Vatican
photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini-Civita

the painting exhibition can be seen in a room below the tower 
(Torre del Mangia, foto a.p.)

Thursday, 30 April 2015

San Gimignano, an ancient garden

Since May 10, 2015, tourists can visit the garden attached to the ancient pharmacy of Santa Fina in San Gimignano.

The apothecary is visible within the circuit of the museums of San Gimignano

Architects, archaeologists, botanists and gardeners, worked several months to evoke in the green spaces of the garden appearance, the atmosphere and all the characteristics of the old Pharmacy.
The pharmacy and the hospital attached were founded in the thirteenth century and was dedicated to St. Fina, famous woman also remembered with the frescoes by Ghirlandaio in the cathedral of San Gimignano.

a corner of the old pharmacy-  photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini SpA 

ampoules ancient pharmacy-photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini SpA

Saffron in the garden of Santa Fina- photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini SpA 
Saffron is often used to do drugs or to flavor local dishes

staging area of the garden 
photo by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini SpA 

Obviously we know that tourists are always fascinated by the medieval-looking town. Several people then enjoy the local wines. San Gimignano is not far from Siena and many other beautiful places in Tuscany.

the center of San Gimignano-Tuscany

the ancient towers - photo MarkusMark (wiki)
the medieval towers of San Gimignano are very famous

detail of a fresco by Ghirlandaio in the Chapel of Santa Fina
In the cathedral there are several works of art.

Vernaccia,  the good wine of San Giminano
In the future near the garden of Santa Fina organizers will propose occasionally  tasting of wines and other food products by this country.  Vernaccia wine was also appreciated in the Middle Ages to the tables of princes and knights