Sunday, July 1, 2018

Two Seek Adventure

That Wednesday, Carmen and Carmichael had a field trip to the Villa di Pratolino near Florence. The class of children rampaged through the garden's geometric alleyways, and sometime before noon Carmen, leading Carmichael by the hand, found the giant.

They weren't supposed to slip past the fence and shuck their shoes by the waterside. They shouldn't have have waded out into the water. Above all, they should never have looked up at that rocky face and said - with the insouciance of extreme youth - hello.

The Apennine Colossus may still be seen at Pratolino, in the remains of the garden laid out by Francesco di Medici in the 1570s. It was created by Giambologna, greatest of the sculptors of the mannerist era, some of whose more famous works are in the Loggia di Lanzi in downtown Florence.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Its full and awful grandeur

"Its full and awful grandeur" was how Charles Dickens described the ruins of the Roman Forum. It would have looked different in his day, with the arch of Septimius Severus and Column of Phocas (left) half buried, and the Basilica Julia (foreground ruins) entirely underground. The church of Luca and Martina would have looked the same, and ditto the Curia Julia (right), except for its window arrangement.

This picture is in a group show at the Westland Gallery opening this Wednesday. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fortezza da Basso

In the centre of the city of Florence broods a huge and uninviting fortress. It was built as part of the city walls, but like many urban fortifications it was designed as much to oppress the citizens as oppose the foes. Duke Cosimo didn't trust his people - they had exiled his family more than once in the past - and wanted to make sure his army was always on hand.


bittersweet bonanza