“art is life, life is art” R. Armin
Another one of the architectural marvels of Tuscany, the so called “zebra cathedral” with its black and white marble is just a stunning structure from both the inside and out. You could spend hours trying to decipher the codes of a place like this, the numerology and symbolism of it are begging investigation. The mystery in history…
Bright colors and lights, they bring out the child in all of us, the child that smiles more often, worries less and is just more hopeful about life…
Italy is one of those countries where you find yourself humming while you eat. Some places are just like that. In fact it is a place where you instantly decide you want to live if you had any choice in the matter. As soon as we arrived there, my 8 year old daughter asked me to help her buy a postcard. She then asked me for the address of her new teacher back in Shanghai and went on to write her a nice paragraph letting her know that she will unfortunately not be attending her class this year as she now lives in Italy. Italy captures the heart of children too 🙂
I often wonder if the impressive and extravagant architecture of cathedrals is meant to distance believers from what is heavenly and saintly, almost belittling mere humans in the face of religion. But when I think of religion, the image that comes into my mind is a special place in nature that is so inspiring that it draws on all the awe that lives in me and leaves me in sympathy with the mysteries of life, not scared, not feeling smaller, why would it? Aren’t love and kindness the essence of religion?
Sorry for my absence in the last week! I was on a photography trip inside the heart of Yunnan (autonomous region is South West China). I have posted some portraits from the trip on my other blog if you are interested in viewing them.
But here we are back in Tuscany! Amazing feeling it is for me to dive back into images of Italy, art, beauty and human creativity after being for one week inside the heartland of China. The contrast is stark and it proves to me that humans and art are inseparable, no matter what the circumstances are. The simple people of Yunnan live art through their dress, the building of their homes, their tribal ways, and there so as much beauty in that as there is in this marvelous artwork of Siena in Tuscany.
How often does it happen to you that you are in museum looking at art and you notice people going first to the little cards or papers that hold a description about the art and reading it before even looking at what it describes? By doing that, don’t we prejudge an artwork and fill ourselves with another person’s impression and facts that end up closing us to the natural way of being with something? Aren’t there two parts of us (at least) that can register new impressions? Don’t we register things consciously with our senses while another unseen part of us takes it in in a whole other manner that we cannot consciously comprehend? Wouldn’t it be better to give ourselves the chance first to detect art before filling our heads with information?
photo~ The beautiful Andrea in a long exposure on the bank of the Arno river in Pisa
~Curiosity thrives behind half open windows~
Where this bicycle stands there once was a carriage with horses and smart people wearing hats and tailcoats and they all looked at the duomo with reverence.
So much of the charm of old Europe comes from its layers upon layers of history and the value they place on preserving tradition. Walking into the exquisitely charming rooms of this beautiful pharmacy in Florence, my heart skipped a beat. Knowing that it was first built by the Dominican friars of the 16th century and that it served since then the very same purpose while retaining its beauty and authenticity is just heart warming. It spoke to me of value for the old and a great appreciation of beauty and of good taste, things that are otherwise being quickly lost to commercial materialism in the rest of the world.
It was recommended by a friend (thank you Paola), and likewise I recommend it back to you: if you are in Florence, try not to miss it!