Friday, June 14, 2013


40 person bus, 11 people in it though
At the finish line, when most haven't begin to go
Send my soul up to heaven if we crash
If not me then these sisters and brethren is all I ask
Young lieutenant, Mr. Tad gave the task
I'm gonna show you that it's all gravy, no potatoes mashed
Just lasagna with artichoke, bits in my stash
Re-birthing  an artist's hope, from a kid in the trash
euro swag, you can see it in my walk now
Good posture ,high thought is why I talk down
Polly want a cracker? Oh, look what the flock found
Painting words like Raphael with Hip Hop sounds
How's that sound to you?
My glass is half-full, I'll down a few
Time to escape to cityscapes with the town in view
Velvet cape, golden scepter with my crown askew.

Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt. 11:

Yet again, I have found a moment to sit and scrawl my impressions. As the countryside rolls by through my panorama bus window, it dawns on me that I could live here. Of course, aesthetically I would love to live here but like is not the operative word.

Not too shabby

A language barrier is almost universally accepted to be a giant boogie man. After being relatively immersed for ten days, I realize that I could live here because the language barrier is closer in ferocity to a panino. If the native tongue of a land is so much more easily overcome, there is no reason, besides the practicality of finances, that I couldn't quickly become an expatriate. Dr. Scott did it and he's none the worse for wear. Based on my Anglo-Saxon lingua roots, I realize that some languages would be more challenging than others, but if I've learned anything from the masters of the Renaissance, it's that hard work and dedication can bring nearly anything and anyone to fruition. As far as the tongues of the Romance family, there really is no excuse not to speak and understand them. Plus, their similarities insure that if you can hurdle the first barrier, the successive challenges are diminished. If I really want to commit myself to an artistic profession, abolishing this fear of language truly breaks down walls and opens the world in it's entirety as a stage. Player, play on; no more excuses. I speak English therefore the United States of America is what we craftsmen of ink refer to as "easy peasy." I look forward to proving myself correct.

Heading home!!! 

That's it y'all,  catch ya on the flip-side but please no butter fingers for this hot potato. Much love to the adults who kept everything organized and kept us safe, namely Mr. Tad, Mrs.Kate and of course the center of positivity that is Professor Stern.

Here are some sources that helped me out.
Italian for Dummies by:  
  •  Francesca Romana Onofri, Karen Antie Moller

  • Zabaione

     Day 10, great friends and a Tuscan view
    Sweetest thing I heard was Patrick saying I put trust in you
    My comedy's delivered with hammers to crush a mood
    Of negativity, don't weigh yourself down, there's so much to do
    21 in 4 days
    All I can think of is do I have to board planes?
    Yes I do, once I'm back it's back to more plays
    It's in my veins like cursing in the Lord's name
    I wish I could spell a word
    to truely showcase my meaning
    Like dancing the Tarentella
    When heaven and earth are meeting
    Through you
    Because you are the conduit, the glue that makes them bond a bit
    Speaking to Mother Earth with Dionysus in my consulate

    Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt 10:

    By observing a face, you can view someone's character. Indentations of the brow, laugh lines, the presence or lack of angular features, these are just a few key tools in the observer's bag of tricks. The mask you wear is like a car, it is the driving force-the motivation-behind a character's actions. It leads you. Relationships and movement start from the body, not the other way around

    Commedia Dell'Arte has a few defining characteristics


    • Professional companies
    • Itinerate 
    • Utilized stock characters
    • Improv. acting
    • Mask theatre
    • Multi-lingual-Grammalo (fake language)
    • Secular/Popular/Comic
    • HIGH ENERGY!!!!!!!!

    The first character we will discuss is  Pantalone. Pantalone is ,usually an old, but always a rich, merchant from Venice. His name means to literally plant the lion, another allude to Venezia. This character is very obsequious and false-faced. He has visible power in the volume of his voice and his sumptuous clothing. He has internal power from his self-knowledge, both of factual information and of the large sum sitting at home in his foot-locker. 

    The second character we will discuss is Capitano. He has a swagger, an arrogance to his bearing. His is a very visible power and if he doesn't intimidate immediately, he loses his edge. He'll boast of gettin' with twenty women a night and killing 300 dudes. However, this is all to compensate for his internal weakness and cowardice. He usually has a long, phallic nose with very aware, shifty eyes.

    The third character we will discuss is Dottore. This character believes the importance of his words to be ultimate. Speaks endlessly and obliviously because he wants you to believe his intelligence. He's a glutton and a drunk; his body is in conflict with the image he attempts to present.

    Next we'll holler at ya boy Arlecchino. His origin is unknown but it has something to do with the devil. Some masks employ a little horn or bump on the brow as an homage. He's not necessarily a stock character, chameleon type, helps others plans.   Masters must employ power through the servant. Power interpreted through this mouthpiece. Irony is this guy's power. 

    Finally we will end with the Lovers. They usually wore no masks. Romanticizing obvious truths was their gimmick, think prostitute to princess. They don't know what to do with themselves. Love and its false morality is mocked.

    There are no fixed characters as society creates them. The body always asserts itself over mental notions. Body tells truth against what society imposes. Belief that humans can progress and achieve perfection. You can invent yourself. Makes fun of real-world power structures. Commedia dell'Arte declines because its caricatures are not applicable to real world people any longer. 

    We finished out the day with a lesson in the Tarantella by Mr.Gianni. He emphasized the folkloric nature to the movements. Characterized by a fast, upbeat tempo, the dance and it's motions revolve around stepping on and being stung by a spider. In the Italian Taranto, the bite of a locally common type of wolf spider named "tarantula" after the region, was popularly believed to be highly poisonous and to lead to a hysterical condition known as tarantism. The stated belief in the 16th and 17th centuries were that the victims needed to engage in a frenzied dance to prevent death from the disease using very rhythmic music. This became known as the Tarantella. Other of the moves feature stomping to kill the spiders and a general bouncing nature permeates every second.

    Here's a visual for ya

    The dance also symbolizes man as the conduit between earth and the cosmos, a rather Renaissance idea. Dionysus is referenced frequently as he himself was of both the earth and the cosmos, having a mortal mother. 


    Day 9, hold up wait, do you mind?
    I'm gonna let Doc. Scott run it back one more time
    Knowledge enshrined thorough a college tested grind
    Polish his dime, pennies for these thoughts of mine
    I swear this is a fiesta
    Crumble the roof like frescoes from Piero della Francesa
    Don't start the vino, or start the vino
    I know that you'll agree
    Do what i say Arlequinno
    We know, yes indeed, we know
    I'm Frank and Patrick's Dino, Godfathers amongst bambinos
    The body is an instrument with which you compose
    So grab the staff and pencil in dozens of notes
    Strike a pose, open not closed
    Communicate your status without your voice or your clothes
    You have to be neutral
    Because every little motion you commit is very crucial
    Now shift your belt, then your chest and your neck
    Then move your head to put your tension all in check
    Pay attention and give professors respect
    Take some notes so you can re-quote from the text
    Save that info, keep all of your haters vexed
    The money's on you once Lady Luck has made her bets
    All my dogs with me, none of my favorite pets
    Tu mo si l'ammore Bella mia at it's best

    Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt. 9:

    The lesson for today is body awareness. As people, we rely on sight too heavily; the other senses, particularly touch, can be utilized to a much higher degree. Mr. Fabio calls this "magic." I call it chi, a kind of warmth that if you focus upon, can be used to communicate a multitude of information. Consider the body as an instrument.  

    This aforementioned  Mr. Fabio, is Fabio Mangolini, an accomplished Commedia practitioner and teacher. We worked through many basic exercises to increase body awareness but my favorite is something i recall as the "Nutella" exercise. The group and I walked around the room normally until we were told to walk as if we were moving through air. we proceeded from water to yogurt to Jell-O and finally to Nutella. The trick comes when the pattern is broken up and you must quickly adapt your movement to accommodate the delicious atmosphere. This was particularly useful to me once I got back to the U.S, as I was cast in a production of the Fantasticks as Henry, an old, former thespian. This consciousness of weight throughout the body was something that helped me express the character's age more authentically. We also worked with a neutral mask. That ended up being much trickier than the concept leads you to believe. Every motion is crucial. The lesson of the exercise was the absence of something being itself and entity, like the concept of zero. Needless to say, it was also a lesson in failing to learn by learning to fail. But it's not like Thomas Edison gave up after the fourth light-bulb.

    The second part of our day was spent in more lecture with Dr.Scott. In this class, we went over the Renaissance specifically. 

    Nearly every culture has belief they've fallen from a Golden Age. Christians from Garden of Eden, Romans from Greeks, Aztecs from Toltecs.

     The Scientific revolution defined modern as superior, people believed that they were living in one of these "Golden" eras. Quantity becomes more important than quality as times viewed as "perfect." Progress not towards something but progress for progress itself. 

    People adopted the Greek vision-that man is a quality-less being. Meaning they can create themselves. Fire from Prometheus becomes man's quality. This insinuates that since man's only quality is external from themselves, man distinguishes himself by how he manipulates the world around him. They also viewed the character of man as a changing(think modern dependence on technology). They quantified this change as an uncontrollable element i.e, stain of Original Sin, Oedipus complex, genetics.
    Rockefeller center's Prometheus

        Nearly every culture has a belief in in the separation of sacred space i.e a church, and profane space i.e anything outside the 
    church's floor-plan. With the Law of Inertia Galileo postulates that some laws that govern profane world, govern the divine world. This, not Heliocentricity was why the Church messed with him. After newton follows this up, the special aura-divinity-of art is eliminated. Rational thinking quantifies art, gives it price tag and pricelessness is eliminated. Universal truth becomes the value of money, not life, death, etc.
    We then discussed Capitalism st great length, so here are the highlights

    Capitalism creates sense of false scarcity. Dependence on keeping working class needy and on edge of poverty. Capitalism posits source of wealth in labor-they pay you, so you can go pay someone. Technology begins expelling labor leading to poorer people. Think Willy Wonka; Charlie's dad losing his job on the assembly line. Capitalist growth is unsustainable, it's doubled every 15 years since 1750. The Occupy Movement has a hint of the Renaissance.

    Here's a story:
    An Indian ruler asked a very renowned intellectual to make him a game with which he could ease his boredom. This Dude, as we shall call him, invented chess. The Ruler was greatly pleased with his invention, so he said he'd grant any request. Dude said: "Put one grain of rice in a square and double it for each successive square, until there is rice in every square. The Ruler laughed and gladly granted this request. Unfortunately, there isn't enough rice in the world to do that. This story exemplifies the concept of unsustainable growth, the crux of the capitalist dilemma. 

    Thursday, June 13, 2013


    Day 8, thinking of my destiny and how I'll face fate
    In a race but the question is where can I first place faith
    Mental flex flow, journaling on the train to Arezzo
    Caravaggio bragadocio is my best mode
    Eating cinghiale boar, it's gone with a poof
    like the best smoke
    As the rest toke inferior, I treat myself like chiesa interiors
    Bringing tears in a spree until all you see is a bleary blur
    Weird with words, bad with faces
    In Accadamia dell'arte learning Commedia basics
    When I need it I taste it, on the tip of my tongue
    Can't let time waste, gotta live while I'm young
    So I give in to fun, there's NOT you'll tell me
    My every season is spring, I'll be BOTicelli
    Smoother than peanut butter and I'm stocking jelly
    When the rubber meets the road I will pop Pirellis

    Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt 8 :

    Today, we arrived in Arezzo.

    Arezzo is the capitol of the Tuscan province with the same name. As part of the Etruscan League, Arezzo is approximately six hundred years older than the infamous Rome. However it is these very Romans who captured Arezzo in 311 B.C. 
    Draped across the sunny side of a hill, the remains of an ancient Medici fort, complete with wind-worn walls, shelters the Basilica di San Francsico and the world famous fresco cycle by Piero della Francesca, "History of the True Cross."
    One part of the cycle

    If you had to name one point of interest, it would be Piazza Grande.
    Built on a slant and surrounded by an attractive jumble of palazzos, towers and churches in which medieval and renaissance styles vie for supremacy, this is the focal point of Arezzo's famous antique fair (held on the first Sunday of each month and the preceding Saturday) and the venue for the Giostra del Saracino, a medieval jousting contest between the eight districts of the town, which happens twice a year in June and September (June 18 – today – and September 4 this year).

    After a brief tour of the city, we headed back to the Accademia for some much needed sustenance.  But not before we stole a few scenic pictures.

    Do you see the fish face?

    After a meal of pesto and salad, not to mention a few piping hot cups of coffee, we shuffled in to Studio 2 for Dr. Scott McGehee's lecture on the Renaissance. For starters, he outlined the evolution of power systems in society, as Commedia designs itself around the current power structure

    Systems of Power: Early Modern
    1. Sovereign Power
    •          Centralized
    •          Externally imposed
    •           Personal
    •          Hierarchies based on fixed class
    •           Visible i.e public executions
    •           Violent
    •           Embodied

    Systems of Power: Modern
    1. Disciplinary power
    •         "Centralized" yet institutionally dispersed throughout social body(micro-power)
    •          Impersonal
    •           Hierarchies based on institutions
    •          Surveillance
    •          Externally imposed with intention of behavior modification i.e (public schools)
    •           Proliferation of laws/rules/regulations
    •           Accumulation of knowledge
    •           Violence as last resort

    Systems of Power: Contemporary

    1. Control Power
    •     Decentralized, "fractal"
    •     Disembodied
    •     Impersonal
    •     Internal(self-control, self-regulation) i.e, Facebook, Apple, having power

    We then went  deep into the concepts of Humanism, a driving force in the Renaissance.

    • Man is the measure of all things
    • Man is the self-creating center
    • Interest in man as he is rather than as he should be
    • Coincides with the rise of merchant class and shifting power based on $$$$

    This concept is crucial to understanding the difference between Medieval art and Renaissance art.

    Medieval Art
    • Art infused with a transcendent spirit and other-worldliness
    • Symbolic;expressed in world of compressed time and space

    Renaissance Art
    • Explores power of immanence
    • Represented in real space and time
    • Perspective creates a singular POV from which universal truth is seen
    • Greek root word of Theatre and Theory are the same...a place from which to see
    • Outward expression of emotion, stylized

    The next lesson will be on Commedia characters!


    Day 7, break bread at breakfast before it leavens
    Brush my teeth, make a bed see Uffizi before 11
    The son of Valerie making trips to Accademia Galleries
    Enunciate "Annunciation" straight to heaven
    No salary, I need a patron
    Deck me out in robes, give the goatee a great trim
    If the shoe fits, wear it, J's, Tims
    My metabolism makes it so I'll stay thin
    Ciao bella, ladies beseech me
    trying to have and keep me
    Looking like I'm paid on Medici
    You'll never reach these
    Unless you see my face in the bass and a rebel in the treble
    Clean cut but still disheveled
    I don't know much about art but I know what I like
    So I'll take part in gazing at Santa Maria tonight
    Whether the moon is full, or it still wants a slice
    Getting lost in tri-color has become my new vice

    Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt. 7

    I can't help but remember the last time i was in love. It seems like all of that occurred on a different planet, let alone different time. Does the use it or lose it concept apply? If so, does that make the Grinch a lie? I can't help but wish for a vessel for all of my adoration, like in those alien days. It makes every moment sharper, every second humming along with an extra resonant twang. I've though about love so many times, I'm not sure what I ponder is even love at all-just another lofty ideal in my cumbersome bag of conceit. Do I engage in the rigmarole again, just to sacrifice later? Inevitably, my choice will be myself. That's the lesson I've learned in Firenze. Short term gratification is how it appears. Like a $1.50 cup of gelato-delicious until all you're left with is a plastic shovel. I'm not saying it appears similarly to anyone else, but short and sweet is a combination that will always go hand-in-hand. As i gaze up at a building older than my culture, it's easy to reflect on the countless loves that have continues history. wars fought, sleep lost, tears shed, all over an intangible element. Dante and Beatrice, Helen and Paris, Chris and Lauren. How silly it is, to see those names together, knowing that the titleholders have long since frayed their ties. Death will do that. Sometimes I pretend that the people we were, are still around-just across a bridge or on the opposite park bench, but they are dead, just as surely as Antiquity. I can look upon that husk and understand its entirety but this cocoon that speaks now, can't look outside of the box yet. So I guess it boils down to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of pain, fear of spreading wings that could never carry this weight. My own personal boogie man leering from two hours ahead. I can't help but remember the last time I was in love, because I can't forget it. Fear could never cloud that beauty.

    You really have to try to be unhappy here, it's not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Good food, good drink and most importantly, good friends makes Firenze's claim as the city of light rings true. In the shadow of the 15th and 16th centuries' greatest accomplishments, you'll find a bustling night life filled with street performers, smiling faces and of course gelaterias.

    I've probably consumed a dozen panino at this point, so I've decided to break down just what this delicious concoction.
    Originally, this basic sandwich had working-class Italian origins. The first sandwiches were made with a simpler recipe: a single filling, usually meat, paired with a rustic bread. Cured meats, such as prosciutto, salami or pancetta, were often used because they didn’t require refrigeration. Panini were usually eaten on the go as a quick meal or snack and weren’t toasted or grilled.
    Over the years, panini grew in popularity and ingredients began to evolve. Rustic breads such as ciabatta, francesino and focaccia became the signature foundation of the sandwich (sliced bread is not used for panini — those sandwiches are called un tosto). People also began to experiment with fillings. Cheeses, from mozzarella to brie, became standard and added welcome depth and flavor. Vegetables — including tomato, arugula, eggplant, or butternut squash — brought garden-fresh taste and texture. Pesto, herbs, olives and even anchovies were added to balance and complement flavors. The combinations are endless and make each panino an individual dining experience.Somewhere along the way, a crucial discovery was made: while a regular panino is good, a toasted panino is even better.

    I have no shoes, I'm in pajamas and yet I feel the compulsion of adventure at 2:00am. As I gaze at myself in the Hotel Pendini lobby mirror, I wonder if seeing Santa Maria at night is worth whatever sacrifice I could put upon the altar. It's only a few minutes, if that. Sure I could be mugged, but what would they take, this notebook? That'd surely be a shame because I could never recreate this. I would rather lose my life; there are many ways to recreate that. Seeing the accomplishments of acclaimed artists, their work still bathed in reverence five hundred years later, I feel very small. To make an everlasting mark, I must make an impression of equal significance. The question is, with what? Are these petty words worth anything but the price of ink spent or can they possibly hold weight for a third party? All men ponder the nebulously romantic concept of legacy. How will you be remembered and what will define you? If you're lucky, history will remember you for more than one thing, but for most, a single project or solitary event ends up summarizing the trials and tribulations of a man in a paragraph. The nuances of struggle are long forgotten but the triumphs in between shine like beacons for future romantics, like this author. I think I'm gonna go for that walk. Rest assured, I'll regret it later but now, now is the time to eradicate pre-conceived notions and live. That is the only way my legacy can stand above the shoulders of my forefathers. I will be the standard.

    Worth it?


    Day 6, makeshift group of 
    me, Ian, Reese
    Great trip ,make fists at those who won't
    leave me in peace
    The kinda fellow saying hi to Donatello's
    Sitting here feeling mellow and the moment is
    not brief
    When you see me in Firenze, please dude address me
    as the kid who spits off the top of the dome, Brunelleschi
    And those pesky, vendors
    selling Italian pretenders
    Don't impress me, ingesting a fresco
    to see a fresh scene
    Jet stream, at least it feels like I'm in it
    463 steps to heaven, you better finish
    And the view is worth it
    Inspiration in marble, what can you do with purpose?
    Can you bare your soul, show beneath the surface?
    Spend your heart in your art,
    when no one will reimburse it?
    When it's one take, no mistakes
    no chance to re-rehearse it?
    Grab your chisel, free a form
    Make your creed your purpose
    Stay hard edged, don't nerf it
    Because if you do, you'll spring through the summer
    and fall when the turf slips
    Marry the winter so when you re-bloom
    it's perfect
    My denouement will be a monument
    that I'm interred with

    Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt. 6:

    Today, I awoke for the sole purpose of climbing to the top of Brunelleschi's dome at Santa Maria del Fiore. It was visible from the girls' room , so I've been thinking about it for the past few days. 463 steps up, 146 ft in diameter, the dome required  more than 4 million bricks. After breakfast, Ian, Reese and I formed a like-minded coalition and headed out to climb. Brunelleschi managed to build the largest dome before modernity by making two, a softer, inner shell and a harder, wind-resistant exterior. If you are claustrophobic, I don't recommend climbing. It is dark for most of the way and the narrow hallways make two-way traffic precarious at best. This is all without mentioning the strain that 463 stairs puts upon your buttocks. The view is absolutely worth it though. 

    Facade completed in 19th century

    Giorgio Vasari's "The Last Judgment" Dome interior
    The church was completed in the 15th  century, including the dome in 1436. The facade however was not completed until the 19th century in a Gothic Revival style.  The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white. It's quite stunning up close

    You always hope you can return to a place. In my head, I can make the distinction between plausibility and wishful thinking, but the romantic in me has no concept of reality. I'll never see these things again. I've seen about 300 triptychs, countless tons of marble and brass and as soon as I turn my back to it, I know it is over. Blank slates stare at yet another youth stumbling towards an exit. Would I like to come back to Firenze? Yes, of course, However, this is a luxury I can not afford myself more than once a decade. If I am to create something of myself, I must make something of this-th very thoughts I now scribe. Foreseeably, my recourse is to consume myself. the most powerful energy a mortal can harness is life, a fuel that is necessary to stoke the flames of creativity. Do you want to be one of the many nameless busts in the Accademia  or be the reason the busts look down upon the crowd. I'll be 21 in seven days. I can honestly say that I have nothing to show for it. Michelangelo completed the Pieta when he was twenty-four. In otherwords, I have three years to change the world. More than ever, the race against time has been made apparent to me, as has time's indefategable nature. So now, while I still have the strength, I must fight. I must finish this leg of the relay before the anchor of team hourglass leaves me in the dust. No pressure.


    Day Five, building bonds
    Never break ties
    In this way I thrive
    in my zone, like shots from baselines
    I stop go, move through palazzos
    Seeing feats that are oh so colossal
    Chiseled from marble so 
    screw Picasso
    I'm on a sojourn 
    asking for truth
    Wonder why it burns?
    In the glass is the proof
    A la casa di Dante Alighieri
    Killing tracks with the fruit of life
    that's what I call a bury
    Gotta boost my dairy, milk the beat
    boost my fromaggio
    Until I tap dance my feet to a stage
    in the Bellagio
    I'll make everything catchy,
    from la-de-de to la-de-do
    Until it shakes the city's crypt
    that's what i call a body blow

    Italian Soundtrack by C.A pt 5:

    Today I have been awoken to the power of the Firenze card. When I purchased it a month back, I thought to myself:" Is this necessary? I'm sure I'll only visit the main museums." Now that I see the swathe of historical buildings, big and small, I realize that there is much more to a city than its highlights. 
     I managed to spend over 4 hours in the Galleria degli Uffizi. In hindsight that's impressive, particularly because at least 1/3 of the museum was being renovated and was closed to the public. I have to say that I fell in love with the works of Caravaggio(1571-1610) on display. He had a major influence on Rembrandt with his dramatic use of lighting and his realistic observation of the human state. My particular favorite was Caravaggio's "Bacchus."

    This jpeg does a disservice to the sumptuousness and variance in tone across the piece. Bacchus is very often depicted as wild, almost maniacal with his mirth. This version depicts a somber Bacchus, established in his ways but by no means, out of control. He extends a shallow goblet of wine with his left hand, inviting the viewer to join him. Featuring the common, dark backdrop of Flemish painting, Caravaggio uses that base lack of light to play on the softness of the illumination, coming from the upper right corner. Seeing it in person ,several reflections are apparent, one being Bacchus' face in the wine and the other of the artist in the stem of the glass.

    One of the other standouts, though similar was Gherardo Delle Notti's "Supper with Lute Player"
    Again a jpeg pales in comparison to reality. Gherardo's real name was Gerrit van Honthorst-he earned the nick name "Gerard of the night scenes" due in part to the popularity of this work and others similarly dark. Another painter utilizing dramatic lighting, his use of chiaroscuro is a direct influence on Rembrandt. I love the little scenes Gherardo captured in the whole of the work.The sight of the man on the right eating a large glob of food with no hands, brings a smile to the old woman, a soft judgment from the woman and hilarity to the man in the foreground. However, over the shoulder of the ,man in the foreground is our title character: The Lute player. He is lost in the eyes of the lady sitting next to him, no doubt serenading her-oblivious to the world around them. It's quite a bright candle.

    Finally, my third favorite was Guido Reni's-"David with Head of Goliath"

    This is not only another example of my fondness for soft lighting in oil paintings, but a prime example of an artist conveying multiple messages.An androgynous-looking David, one breast bared as in many semi-nude paintings of women, leans against a column while contemplating Goliath's severed head. Why is he so calmly looking at his grisly handiwork? Here's why. David, as so often in poetic painting, is an alter ego of the artist who has just executed his painting. Keep a lookout for puns in art; they are very common. Indeed, here's another. The head (without the body) symbolizes not only David's painting but his masterpiece because, in Italian, masterpiece is capolavoro or literally head-work. David as the painter is contemplating his work of art.

    To change up the pace, I'll showcase one of the all-time classics of western art, Boticelli's "Birth of Venus"

    Botticelli depicts the mythical scene of the birth of the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Venus. Floating atop a cockleshell, recently borne from the foam of the sea, Venus is lead ashore to her sacred Cyprus by the breath of the wind goddess, Zephyrus, accompanied by his wife, the flower goddess, Chloris. Eagerly anticipating the goddess’s arrival, the nymph Pomona stands on the shore’s edge, ready to swath the newborn, more powerful goddess, cloak in hand. This painting shuns the trend at the time of assuming scintific realism in the work. Venus is the largest figure, even though she is not the closest, the trees are all the same width, the position of Chloris' knee is anatomically impossible. Botticelli adds to the mystical feel of the painting as he refuses to follow the scientifically correct rules of perception.