Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arezzo Art

In the Santa Maria della Pieve, Pietro Lorenzetti's 14th
century polyptych

In an arcade, a copy of the 5th century BCE Etruscan
chimaera that is Arezzo's emblem; I am now given to
wondering what Missoula's emblem is? I think it must be
the flying pig seen on Rockin' Rudy's t-shirts; I hope so 

Not all art in Arezzo is medieval or Renaissance; there is
much contemporary work of interest; above is a massive
sculpture scene done by Sara Bolzano and Nicola Zamboni, two
Bolognese artists

Up closer

But the big draw in this town, as it would be in
any town, is Piero della Francesa's Legend of
the True Cross, on a dozen or so large panels
in the chancel; you have to pay extra to get in
the chancel, and the paintings are relatively
high up,but you are very close; time limit in
the chancel is 30 minuti

There is of course a no pix policy in the chancel; and of course
we had to snap a few; we have been reading about and hearing
about this cycle for some time

A bit more; the legend itself, as Medieval Christians
imagined it, is nearly as interesting as the 15th century
representation; the wood for the True Cross, you see, grew
from a tree that grew from a seed planted in the mouth of
Adam when he was buried; Abel--no--Cain, had run back to
the Garden of Eden to collect three such seeds...three, not
two, not four, but three, from the...you guessed it...Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil...

And a bit more; well, it's a long and actually
interesting legend, more about how works the
religious mind and organization than anything
else, and involving Constantine, the Queen of
Sheba, Solomon, a Jew, and, of course,
Constantine's mom, St. Helen; and quite a
few miracles and revelations, along the way,
none of which are scriptural; much of it from
The Golden Legend; anyhow, Francesca's
fresco cycle is on the web in several places,

In the San Domenico church, Cimabue's
memorable crucifix; in Franciscan churches
of the era, these were always over-sized, hung
right over the altar, and tilted--in your
face--toward the onlooker

I couldn't resist this martyrdom scene, but at
least in part because it is of the very famous
painted/glazed sculpture idiom whose name I 
unfortunately can not remember just at the

Proof that Italians have been talking with their hands at least
since the 1300s

And, finally, in the Duomo, in a corner almost
buried behind some bishop's grandiose tomb,
Francesca's serene Magdalen

After straining to see the Magdalen, I had just
turned to Vicki and commented that this was
the darkest cathedral we had ever been in, yet
with so much to see...and, then, near the exit
door, I saw it, the Divine Illumination
machine; we have seen these throughout Italy;
pop in a half-euro and the scultpure/painting/
whatever you want to see gets a minute of two
of decent light; I always position myself for
the photo opp and then say to Vicki, by the
machine with coin, in stage whisper, "Let
there be light"; in the Arezzo Duomo, the
DIM costs a whopping (so to speak) 2 euros;
but it lights up the entire nave, including the
beautiful ceiling... 


And thus; some of the best color I have ever seen in a church;
best 2 euros thus far spent on holy ground...

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