Especially now, paying tribute to Italy seems particularly opportune. As we are being shown how interconnected we all are in this world wide pandemic, during which Italy has been hit particularly hard. So here's to you Italy, love at first sight...
Ahhh, Italy. The beauty of their history is deep - and well preserved. We walked through Greek and Roman art and architecture... through hill towns, where the isolation and austerity of the Dark Ages and Medieval Period can be imagined around every turn... and into the Renaissance as you see Art come alive again with all it's stories, history and interconnection. THAT makes Art History REAL! Illustrating how when the Arts and creativity are thriving, the society is thriving. We explored it all in Italy.
We'll start around the 6th century B.C. in the Greek world, as we walk through Paestum Italy. Here, you will find one of the most northern examples of magnificent Greek architecture.
Mind blowing to stand there and imagine a structure of that enormity and elaborate scale being built so long ago!
Not only was the architecture mind blowing, but the level of the society the architecture and art alluded to was as well. Here is the remains of the 'lap pool' in the community. We saw the remains of gorgeously intricate tile floors and sculpture too.
Learn more about Paestum here - with a short Rick Steve's tour... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWT5EPHzL1M
Then onto Pompeii, where you can walk through an ancient Roman city like an open book, with the oldest surviving Roman amphitheater (above). Here, time stopped in AD 79 with the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. But some of the art, architecture and even pottery survived...
The level of the sculpture, painting and overall attention to detail was remarkable and can still be seen walking through the ruins of Pompeii.
The incredible art, which until now, I had only seen in Art history books or a dappling in museums was beyond belief to experience in person. The backdrop of ancient stone buildings, human feats of architectural engineering teeming with history from centuries ago, made it all the more astounding.
The kids were an 'easy sell' on Italy as well. After all, we were eating the very best pizza, pasta and gelato we had ever tasted. Not a bad way to end a day after our 'real world' art history lessons.
Now, both my kids (teenagers these days) love History. Some of that interest, I attribute to seeing it in person, walking right through it and touching it. That creates a deep appreciation books can't match. So thank you for that Italy. And another thank you to the other reason my kids love History - their absolutely amazing inspiring high school history teacher who also takes it 'beyond the books'. She deserves a BIG tribute.That is not an easy feat to inspire teenagers in History! A very sincere heartfelt THANK YOU to Ms. Cote. :)
The natural landscape of Italy was gorgeous as well. The Amalfi Coast did not disappoint! You can't go wrong when the landscape, art, architecture and food are ALL inspiring.
Next, off to an ancient Roman city mixed into a new modern ROME - where truly timeless Art resides. What a combination to explore...
Rome was breathtaking both day and night. mixing ancient ruins with modern life.
The Roman Colosseum, certainly mind expanding to stand there in person and take in the history and vastness of it all. Built in just 8 years, 72 AD to 80 AD.
Of course, the theaters are grand in Rome as well. This is the Teatro Dell'Opera di Roma where we watched the Christmas performance of 'The Nutcracker'. Another awe-inspiring experience.
Visiting Galleria Borghese in Rome - again, more mind-expansion. The building itself is absolutely stunning as well as the Art housed inside. I find it truly uplifting to see how the world became enamored with beauty in Art and Architecture as the Renaissance brings it on. Right now, it seems we could all use some 'uplifting'... So let's soak it in...
The marble sculptures by Bernini... 'incredible' just doesn't even describe them. This is Pluto & Proserpina... Timelessly beautiful... a 3-D statement to human kind's creative potential.
Above, a close up of Pluto & Proserpina by Bernini. Hard to comprehend that level of form, feeling and complexity - CARVED. IN. STONE. Bernini created it in 1621-1622 when he was 23 years old!!
If you'd like to see more about the Bernini sculpture and the Borghese Galleries, follow this link...https://borghese.gallery/collection/sculpture/the-rape-of-proserpina.html
Meticulous detail is everywhere, every nook and cranny, inside and out. It's hard to take it all in. Amazing, mind-blowing, gorgeous, grand - Italy is all those adjectives and more! And we haven't even made it to Tuscany or Florence. Yet....
As I continue my 'blogging detour' in the midst of this pandemic, we'll continue into Tuscany and onto the heart of the Renaissance in Florence. Here is where the rebirth of Art is attributed to. If you want some details and a more in-depth background of the stirring of the Renaissance, follow this link for info on the Medici family -https://www.history.com/topics/renaissance/medici-family
More Italian Art & Architecture to come, as the Arts geminate in Italy!