April 24th, 2007
Well, I am back from Italy much to quickly. I really miss the authentic cappucinos and the tangy yogurt, among a million other things! What I found I didn’t miss as much was not being tied to a computer and checking my email 100 times a day, so I am finding it a bit hard to get back into my electronic routines! My son dabbles in mosaics, so I was really excited to take him to the National Museum of Rome at the Palazzo Massimo. I’ve written about it here already, but I find the recovered antiquities there so stunning I’m going to post about it again!
They have an amazing collection of mosaic pavements that were mostly discovered in the ruins of residential buildings of the city and suburbs of Rome around the end of the 19th century. Some of them are in near-perfect condition and the colors and quality of craftsmanship are amazing! While many examples there are of simpler, graphic designs that use black tesserae on a white background (less expensive and time consuming to produce), there are also many examples of more complicated polycrome techniques, like the ones shown above. The details and modeling that they were able to achieve with tiny, perfect squares of stone and marble is simply stunning. I especially love the ochres with blue-greens and the way they were able to achieve the classic egg and dart moldings. It’s inspiring and humbling all at once.
April 3rd, 2007
I wrote about my upcoming trip to Italy on the Art of Living blog, but wanted to talk a bit more about the project here. I am going to Rome and on to Florence next week to sort out the details of a trip that Gary Lord and I are hosting for a group of students next October.
We have joined up with Alison Woolley Bulkghalter (whose exquisite work is shown above) to plan a program around doing some painted decoration in her new studio that is housed in a former small theatre built in the 1800′s. Alison runs a Florentine painting studio and offers art courses year round, both there and at the Maiano estate, where we will be staying.
We will be using a decorative motif that was originally on the plaster ceilings and adapting it to create a design for a “faux marble” floor pattern that will be done with an integrally colored concrete overlayment. This will be set off with trompe l’oeil paneling around the dado with plaster columns. The back rooms will receive wall finishes designed to replicate the local Florentine silk fabrics. More about that “manana”, I mean “domani”. Oh yeah! Gotta start crammin on that Italian language CD.