Monday, August 8, 2011

Italia--Art is a Way Of Life

Among the famous paintings, sculptures, and architecture, beauty can be found on the most modest facade, in a door or window, on the walls of a parking garage...  Italians are reminded every day of the beauty of artistic creation, and the promise of artistic achievement in any form, any medium.

I worried that Italians might grow complacent to the creative achievement all around them.   On the contrary, as I traveled I found that Italians must internalize this beauty, and incorporate it into a passionate view of the world, whether as musicians or painters, makers of pottery or lace, sculptors or designers, or or even cooks, or lovers.

(My only regret on this trip was being unable to visit the Cinecitta Studios in Rome, hub of the Italian film industry, where Fellini created his masterpieces.)

I will post some of my most prized photographs of the artistic beauty (not to mention the natural beauty) I encountered everywhere.

But first, to illustrate how art plays an important role in even the most everyday of lives, I want to share two examples of simple artists with amazing talent:

This accordion player performed near the Duomo in Sienna. Before I saw this lone figure, I thought a small orchestra had set up to play Vivaldi and Bach in the cul-de-sac.  This man used his entire body to make his instrument come forth with the harmonies and subtleties of a symphony. I had never seen anyone play an instrument, let alone a maligned, "popular", non-orchestral instrument, with such love and passion.

After I took this photograph, I found that street artists with their pastels were a common sight in Florence.  This artist worked his "chalk" into the cobblestones for a soft and harmonious blend of color.  He probably did not earn a lot of money for his effort, which made his devotion to his craft and his considerable talent worthy of reflection: 

Do I write with such care? Do I blend my words and thoughts to such colorful, pleasing effect?

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