Arrivederci Italia, Ciao America. I'm back from my awesome 12 day adventure in Italy and I managed to get back to NJ with a few kinks, despite the storm that hit on Friday. It was an incredible two weeks and too much to mention. I will try to give a summary of the most incredible stuff. First the food and the art. Incredible. Did I already say that? The food kept getting better, some things stand out -- a two hour meal at the Castello delVerazzano (yes the very castle of the namesake of the Verazzano Bridge) winery in Chianti where we were served a seven or eight course lunch with wine tasting, fabulous pasta carbonara (served with raw eggs that cook in the heat of the pasta with parmagiana and pancetta) in Rome, to die for fresh artichokes cooked in a multitude of ways, oh and did I mention the wine and the gelato?
The art -- it was so great to see David and Michelangelo's Unfinished Slaves again. I saw a painting from 1470 by Antonello da Messina of Sicily that was strikingly modern to me in its composition. I did a sketch of it and just tried to find it online, but can't locate it. It's the Madonna and Child Enthroned and Two Angels in the Uffizi collections. Then in Rome, after spending two hours in the Vatican Museums, we stumbled upon the modern art galleries which my tour book author shunned as horrific. I was so amazed with some of the work that I could have spent hours there despite my hunger and our need to also see the Sistine Chapel. We lingered slowly through each room seeing the Deposition of Christ by Van Gogh, a wood relief carving by Gaughin, several unfamiliar Italian artists I fell in love with, and an entire room dedicated to the art of Georgio Morandi, a 20th century Italian painter whose work I looked at often in art school.
The highlight of the trip was driving to Castrocielo and Ausonia, the two towns where my great-grandparents were born. We were given a private tour by a friend of my parents who lives in Castrocielo, driving us all over both towns and to Montecassino, a well-known abbey that has been destroyed and rebuilt three times due to war. I walked all through the towns, saw a family crypt with the names of possible family ancestors. It was incredible. Not much more to say than that.
The trip has given me a clear mind and lots of new references from which to paint. Though I am swamped with work to do for upcoming shows, I am emerging from Italy with freshness and relaxation. I have a couple of commission pieces to finish over the next week and a half and then onto paintings of Italy. In the meantime, I have just set up a flickr account and uploaded all of the sketches I did while in Italy. I completed ten drawings, I would have liked to do more, however my trip was not just for painting but also for a vacation with my husband and seeing and experiencing Italy.
To view my sketchbook drawings, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/traillworks/