Passions of an Odd Chick

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lovely Orvieto

We left Rome, Italy and headed for the north. On our way, we stopped at an hidden jewel of a city named Orvieto. I don't have any of my own photographs because I bought a book.

You can read all about it if you love old old places. This walled city dates back to the Estrucans (800 B.C. stuff!!) It sits on top of a volcanic mountain and has quaint and lovely shops where we drank Orvieto wine and had eggplant and cheese on focaccia bread for lunch. It has a beautiful cathedral based on a haunting relic.
(*my opinion only)
It seems each town needed a Saint or relic to bring others to their town for commerce and their own religious unity. They wouldn't have used secular objects because their religion was almost their nationality. These cathedrals housed objects that people came from all over to see and then subsequently pay for local lodging, food and local crafts. The locals knew that it was a boost for their town and that's one of the reasons they funded these projects so liberally. It wasn't a bad deal.... we are still going there today 2500 years later, spending our money in their lovely town, to see the history now revolved around those sacred decisions.

I could have lived like this. It had a fairy-tale, peaceful, secret garden feel to it. It was secure behind the great strong walls, beautiful old trees and winding paths through flower gardens, unbelieveable scenery from every direction, and a quiet artist mood about the place.  AND the ART ....

I saw old Byzantine frescoes by Lippo Memmi in the Cathedral. This very painting (Madonna dei Raccomandati). It's at least 9 ft. high. The gold was dazzling, and the designs and color made me want to get home and try my plaster work again.

"In our own time it has been seen... that simple children, roughly brought up in the wilderness, have begun to draw by themselves, impelled by their own natural genius, instructed solely by the example of these beautiful paintings and sculptures of Nature."  Giorgio Vasari  

I saw original frescoes that covered huge walls by Luca Signorelli. It is said that Michelangelo copied some of his ideas for the Sistine chapel. Remember common people couldn't read so paintings told stories and probably kept the fear of God in people's hearts and minds (along with Papal power and religious leveraging, and commerce).

For whatever reason, artists left their heart and skill here for millions to see and you can't help but walk away feeling visually and soulfully shakened awake.


Jeannelle said...

Looks like an intriguing place!

Bren said...

You've written so beautifully and powerfully, it's left me wordless! I am hoping you do get into more plaster work, I look forward to the results and maybe you'll share your process as you create.