sienamystic: (horse)
From Ravenna, we hopped back on the train and got to Florence at about 9 that evening, after a slightly delayed train. Our apartment was literally on the square of the Signoria, which still kind of boggles me. Thankfully the window was facing towards the back of the building and was four flights up, and even more thankfully there was a teeny European elevator built into the stairwell. We couldn't all fit in the elevator, mind you, but we could take turns. Every once in a while an intrepid soul would just decide to walk up.

My sister knew she wanted to shop for some specific things in Florence, namely leather gloves, but she had also done research on other goods which is how we found ourselves awash in gorgeous colors at Valmar, a shop that said they sold upholstery and other home decorating goods, but really seemed only to sell dizzying array of tassels and cushions. My sister and I promptly became awash in a sea of greed and had to talk ourselves out of not buying one of each despite our lack of giant windows curtained in luxurious brocade which needed only an insouciant little tassel to finish off the scheme.

tassels in Valmar

Leather gloves were acquired, as were a pair of Ponte Vecchio gold earrings. My contribution to the shopping festivities was bringing us to the pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, which was once upon a time run by monks but is now a fancy perfume, candle, and lotions establishment. I dithered a lot and finally ended up spending a whole heck of a lot on a room spray fragrance that I absolutely adore - it's technically a Christmas scent, but it's orange and cinnamon and a little clove maybe? And it's sort of lovely and a little bit medicinal but also like a cinnamon stick in a mulled wine and it's a Christmas fragrance that I've come across before but it hard to find in the US and I love it to pieces.

A few more photos )

One of my biggest disappointments is that we missed by about a week the reopening of the museum holding the works of the Duomo, which has a heartbreaking Michelangelo Pieta and also Donatello's Mary Magdalene, a sculpture guaranteed to make me cry like an idiot. The Bargello is some consolation, and I did get to see my friend Niccolo da Uzzzano, who has been put in a new spot since I saw him last but who retains his dignified but friendly mien.

Bust of Niccolò da Uzzano, 1430s
sienamystic: (mermaid)
Well, back from the road, but about to head out again in a few days. Here are some photos from Syracuse, NY - mostly of the Everson Museum and works therein.

Everson Museum sculpture court
I.M. Pei's first museum building. Lots of concrete. A really impressive interior, an exterior I think could use a little softening.

the knitting porcupine )

Plus I was fed at an incredible restaurant named Sparky Town (amazing lentil soup and mushroom-cheese quiche, plus brownies to die for) and wandered around the Armory Square area and had a coffee at a place called Freedom of Espresso. All in all, a very nice trip.

iconic

Mar. 4th, 2011 08:25 am
sienamystic: (Annie from Community)
My LJ account has run out of paid time, and I think I'll just let it sit like this for a while. But it's weird how much I already miss my big list of icons. When I was over at Diaryland, the format didn't include icons, and I had no idea how addictive the blasted things are.

An active day yesterday. Swimming laps at lunch and then aikido in the evening. I'm all-over sore muscles, but in a good way. I just wish I could figure out what I'm doing that has my neck and shoulders so tense all the time. Stress is a good possibility (insert hollow laugh here) but I'm also wondering about my computer and keyboard setup at work.

Oh, and in an act of brilliant timing, our computer at home had a hard drive crash and Bemo had to go drop it off at the computer store (he was apprehensive and stressed and v. mad at the computer, but pulled himself together nicely and got it taken in) and I just hope our data is retrievable and that the whole business isn't too expensive. If the Law of Economic Averages of Life holds up, it'll cost us $125 because that's the amount of the check that came in the mail two days ago. (One of the other people at the dojo had a furnace break on her the other day, and then had an unexpected tax refund show up for nearly the exact amount as the furnace repair cost her - for me, it tends to happen in the opposite direction. First the unexpected check and the rejoicing, then the expense that eats it up, usually to the dollar.)

Anyway. Getting some paintings photographed today. I usually am not a fan of Geometric Abstraction, but we just unwrapped a really beautiful one, all pinks and yellows and greens and reds, in different textures, looking much like a computer chip out of a Willie Wonka candy machine.
sienamystic: (horse)
A while back, I had the opportunity to attend an art installation at an Omaha art venue called the Florence Mill. The artist was named Leslie Iwai, and the installation was called Holding My Horses. Iwai had handmade 900 ceramic horses and hung 700 of them from orange thread, in big clusters so that they looked like clouds blown by the wind. Additionally, she had an old manual typewriter set up for guests to type in words, and she would then knit the words (using custom-dyed handspun wool from Wyrrhwood Farm) into a big orange textile using a simple code she devised.

It was a gorgeous installation - especially since you could walk (carefully) around it and view the groups of horses from one angle or another. From one side, they looked very static, and from another it seemed as though they were actually galloping away, out the window of the mill and into the sky.

You can see photos of the installation here and here is a photo of the horse I bought:

The art of the horse
sienamystic: (mermaid)
Was sifting through my old Art History ABC entries, where I did an essay on an art history topic for each letter of the alphabet (click the tag to see them if you'd like) and came across a poem by Michelangelo I posted. I thought I'd share it again.

What file's incessant bite
left this old hide so shrunken, frayed away,
my poor sick soul? When is it due, the day
that sloughs it off, and heaven receives you, where
in primal joy and light
you lived, unvexed by the perilous flesh you wear?
Though I change hide and hair
with little life ahead,
no way to change behavior long engrained,
cramping me all the more as years go by.
I'm envious, Love, I swear
(why hide it?) of the dead,
a panicky muddle-head,
my soul in terror of its sensual tie.
Lord, as the last hours fly,
stretch out in mercy your two arms; make me
less what I've been, more what you'd have me be.

Michelangelo, Poem 161 to Vittoria Colonna.
sienamystic: (This is art)
Have been helping a little bit with the install of our forthcoming ORLAN exhibition, "The Harlequin Coat." Part of this involves being hugged by mutant clothing on chairs.

Hugged by Orlan
sienamystic: (This is art)
An Open Letter to the Harry Potter fanboy/girl who keeps writing things in chalk on our Richard Serra sculpture:

Cut it the fuck out. Writing "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" over and over again on repeated visits does not make me giggle about how awesome that is, it makes me want to figure out a place to hide in the bushes and taser you. Would that they let me have a taser.

Yours,
A Pissed Off Registrar

At least our uber-competent collections assistant is handling this, so I don't have to be out there with the damp cloth all the time.

Nerves!

Apr. 29th, 2010 04:14 pm
sienamystic: (OMG octopus attack)
My very first curated-on-my-own exhibition, while not officially opening until early May, will probably be open early...by this afternoon, actually. I've curated small case exhibitions, and written labels and text for a small part of a bigger exhibition, but this is a slightly bigger fish and I've been quite nervous about the whole thing. It's been a lot of work, but seeing it go up is exciting. Now I have to prep for a gallery talk later in May.

Bwee!

The subject of the exhibition is American tourism to Italy during the nineteenth century. I've gotten to bring out some pieces of art that have rarely or never been shown, the focus of my museum being what it is. The preparator and I decided on a blue color that's splendid in the room - color can really bring things together and this one just does the trick. Some of the pieces are in heavy gilt frames and they just look marvelous against the blue.

Anyway, it's been a big chuck of my life for a little less than a year now, and I feel like a hen who has just delivered a long-overdue egg.
sienamystic: (skeleton)
A sculptor from Venice during the High Renaissance.

Tullio Lombardo, sculpture of a warrior saint

Sculpture of a Warrior Saint

detail, Tullio Lombardo sculpture

I love his lion armor.
sienamystic: (dresses and older men)
I forgot to writeup my second experience with the Flatwater Shakespeare Company, which I referred to earlier when I went there to see Richard III as Shakespeare in the Cemetery (because, well...it is in a cemetery. A very nice one.) I had passed on Merry Wives of Windsor, their summer offering, mostly to save the money, but I was very eager to go see their fall production of Julius Caesar, since I have a strange fondness for that play. (Is it strange? I suppose I'd be startled to see it on somebody's top three list, but I don't know why. But I like Roman history, so I suppose that's what does it for me.) No togas, alas - they did it in modern dress, which worked and probably saved them a lot on costuming. Lots of tiny homoerotic touches, too, what with all the brotherly swearing of oaths and then killing with small daggers.

Julius himself was played by the same man who played Buckingham in Richard III. I wonder if he's their go-to guy for the older political type, because he does self-satisfied man of power very well. The actor who played Brutus was the same who did Richard; rightly so as I think he's their overall strongest actor. Some of the cast seemed to have a little trouble projecting and had to find ways around it - Cassius got a little strident - but this guy manages it without showing any effort at all. Overall, a lot of fun despite the fact that I neglected to bring a sweater and thus spent most of the evening shivering.
sienamystic: (Medici one hour)
Lorenzo de' Medici portrait bust

One of my favorite pieces of art ev-ah. Il Magnifico himself, wonky nose and all. (He had no sense of smell, interestingly enough.) I visit this sculpture every time I'm anywhere near the National Gallery. It's terracotta, and likely made after the wax sculptures crafted by Benitendi and designed by Verrochio, which were placed in various churches to offer thanks that he escaped the Pazzi murder plot.

Giuliano de' Medici portrait bust

This is Lorenzo's hottie younger brother, Giuliano, who didn't make it out of the Duomo alive.
sienamystic: (Drown)
Behind the Smithsonian "Castle" is a nice little garden that I don't think many tourists end up wandering through. And to one side of that garden is an even smaller little place with a pool and two "moon gates." It's been one of my favorite spots in DC for a while, and I've seen it in all seasons. It's quiet, and feels a million miles away from where it actually is: in the middle of a big bustling city.

The Moon Gate )

Another favorite spot is one of the courtyards in the National Gallery (West building). The fountain and all the greenery and flowers make it peaceful to sit and ponder the meaning of it all. And, of course, rest your feet!

National Gallery courtyards )

No, I don't know what those putti are doing to the poor swan. Probably best not to ask.

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