Saturday, September 13, 2008

Floating around Italy

John and Ming
just came back from
their cruise around Italy
Rome to Venice
(via Genoa, Monte Carlo, Corsica, Naples,
Sicily, Malta, Croatia,and Ravenna)

.... and so I have been presented
with 1500 pictures

from which I have culled
the ones that had sculpture I liked
(and weren't too blurry)

... and am now presenting them in the order
in which they were taken,
following the boat
to each port of call

John didn't photograph the labels
so I've go to do some guessing here
(that's half the fun)

and I'm guessing this is 3rd C. Roman,
but it certainly does resemble
the revival of that style
in 13th and 14th Century Pisa.

I wouldn't call it elegant,
but sometimes vigor
can carry the day.

(assuming it's a sarcophagus,
it's how I want to be buried)

I think we've moved into the Christian era by now,
the figures are so much more gentle,
they seem like members of a small growing community
rather than denizens of a great crumbling empire.

(just as they're all part of an architectural ensemble,
the capital of a column,
that is presumably supporting a church)

We're back in the Roman empire again,
with not really the greatest design in the world,
the sculptor had to fit in
an over-sized portrait of the deceased,
but the groupings on the bottom
do balance with the top,

And doesn't he look like
the owner of a tavern
happily reclining for a drinking party
that will last forever ?

Now we really are bouncing around
through time,
with a monument
to Italian re-unification
(1500 years after the fall of Rome)

It's sweet, Romantic, delicious
and all that
(and I'm so glad they've chosen to exhibit
a cute girl instead of a crusty old man)

But the world just seems
a bit more superficial / ideological
and less
sacred / profound.

This being a bit more simplified and stately,
I think we've entered the first decades of the 20th C.,
and something about this piece
just feels provincial to me.
Was it on Corsica ?

and this one feels contemporary,
made in a garage
by some outsider artist
(i.e. someone like me,
a private dreamer)

I wish I had this artist's name,
I add him to my list
of contemporary sculptors

What to make of this fine piece?

There's a naturalism about the arm,
that makes me think about the last
decades of the 19th C.

It's rather staid,
was it made for a cemetery?

I think the word "rococco" applies,
it's kind of over-the-top,
what some show-off rich guy
would want for his garden
(the same guy who
would buy Jeff Koons or
Damien Hurst today)

But still...
it's telling us
"life is fun"
so I would like to go
to his garden party

Here's some curious sculpture
in some curious room
(is it a museum or a warehouse?)

I'm guessing that we're in some remote
corner of Hellenistic Greece,
pleasant, but not quite up to
big city standards.

And now .. I think we're in late-Medieval Dalmatia,
a civilization I need to learn
more about.

This feels a lot like the
Medieval part of St. Mark's in Venice,
but just a little less sophisticated.

If the ancient Romans mostly liked to party,
these people mostly like to work

Poor Adam
really seems upset
that he has to stand
precariously perched,
butt naked
out on the street

I've never felt so sorry for him.

These terrible Turks
would date this church
to sometime after 1350.

Nobody likes a foreign aggressor,
but since they were lazier,
apparently the Turks were
easier overlords than the
rapacious Venetians.

This is one great church,
and maybe even worth the trip across
the Adriatic.

Compared with the medieval
revivalisms of the early 20th C.,
these pieces have a bit more
joie de vivre.

The feel both humorous
and solemn.

It feels like we've jumped ahead
another century or two,
and now have provincial Venetian work.

Nice -- but not quite
as engaging.

Where does this guy come from?
I'm guessing he's post-Mestrovic
in the mid 20th C.

Perhaps this is Mestrovic himself.

Rather bombastic and cartoonish,
I'm afraid that this scary figure
appears all to appropriate
for the ethnic Balkan wars
of the 1990's

He's definitely a cousin to Bowman and Spearman
on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

I don't like this piece,
so I wouldn't include it...
except that it's so weird.

maybe I do kinda like it.

It certainly is memorable.

and this piece is a
Croatian cousin of Emilio Greco

same with this one,
but she is a little more elegant,
and more Italian, too.

(and what could be better,
than watching a girl in a short skirt
trying to fix her shoe)

But there's way too much
wacky idealism here
for this to be from a
worldly wise Italian.

It's almost wacky enough
to be done by me!

And it certainly looks good
among those trees.

This is the spirit of striving,
reaching into a new world.

It's not great --
but it is trying.

With this piece,
we've crossed back over to Italy,
and what a fine monument
this is to a scholar.

Not spectacular,
but then,
this is a hero of
dusty old books.

Ah, Venezia at last!

My spiritual home,
and what a lovely shot
of a certain Chinese woman
whose dress
matches the mosaic cupola
on the facade of St. Mark's.

Just behind St. Mark's,
is this wonderful Eve
by Antonio Rizzo.

My favorite Eve of all time
(next to my favorite Adam)


Because they look so vulnerable,
so endearing,
how could God ever want
to punish them?

(surprisingly -- it is very hard to find
more shots of these statues on the internet,
but here's one more.

we're back to where we began,
in ancient Rome

with presumably a Roman copy
of a Hellenistic masterpiece.

Oh -- for the tender flesh
of soft, handsome young dudes!


Blogger Robert said...

Broad spectrum, clearly the sun shone on a great holiday.

September 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "Xian Era Piece" probably is as you say, though it is *not* Xian: that's a lamb who's about to be sacrificed to some pagan deity (my money is on Mithra). the Eve is a copy of the one on the back of St Mark's, it stands gathering dust in a corner of Scula Grande de San Giovanni Evangelista -- it is a nice way to get close to her. And the last item -- the chest -- what a chest -- stands in the portego of Ca D'Oro. Gawain misses you

September 20, 2008  
Blogger chris miller said...

Yes -- who is sacrificing that lamb?
Since they're prancing around on horses - they must be soldiers.

Good to hear from you, Sir. G!

I hope you return to blogworld some day. ( so you can do my world traveling for me)

September 20, 2008  

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