Photo Essay

Italy Day Six: Volterra and San Gimignano

After Siena the Tuscan landscape en route to the ancient hilltop town of Volterra.

       

Two of the best reasons for visiting Volterra can be found in the Pinacoteca e Museo Civico.

Rosso Fiorentino. Deposition 1521

Luca Signorelli, Annunciazione, 1491

Volterra is also renowned as Italy’s capital of alabaster and visiting the Rossi Alabaster gallery and workshop on Piazza della Pescheria it is clear why.

      

One particular piece caught my eye as it’s beauty seemed to reflect those wonderful faces in the Fiorentino Deposition.

     

After Volterra it was on to San Gimignano.

The towers of this iconic hilltop town dominate the horizon for miles around.

      

The surrounding Tuscan landscape shimmering in the evening light.

Italy Day Five: Siena

Piazza del Campo in Siena, home of the Palio and one of the great public spaces of the world.

Those of you who follow The Changing Palette will know that there was a gap in the posting of our Italian travels due to poor internet connection but now back at home I’ll catch up over the next few days beginning with Day Five in my favourite Italian City, Siena, a city that I have featured a number of times before.

     

We began the day by climbing the over four hundred steps of the Torre del Mangia of the Palazzo Publico to enjoy, somewhat out of breath, the spectacular 360 degree view of the city.

Then it was time to explore the rooms of  the Palazzo Publico with its magnificent frescoes by so many great Renaissance Sienese artists.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of the Good Government.

A naval battle scene by Spinello Aretino

     

After gelato in the Campo, an experience not to be missed, it was on to the Duomo…

…and a visit to the Libreria Piccolomini and its breathtaking frescos by Pinturicchio.

 

From the Duomo we crossed the plaza to the 13th century hospital Santa Maria della Scala to see the moving frescoes in Pilgrims Hall by Domenico di Bartolo.  Visit the Web Gallery of Art to see all of these remarkable frescoes and read the history of the hospital in this excellent paper by J H Baron published in the British Medical Journal in 1990.

  

Finally one of the highlights of the day seen in the Cathedral’s Museum, the magnificent Maesta by Duccio de Buoninsegna.  

The painting was installed in the cathedral on 9 June 1311 and one person who witnessed the event wrote:

And on that day when it was brought into the cathedral, all workshops remained closed, and the bishop commanded a great host of devoted priests and monks to file past in solemn procession. This was accompanied by all the high officers of the Commune and by all the people; all honorable citizens of Siena surrounded said panel with candles held in their hands, and women and children followed humbly behind. They accompanied the panel amidst the glorious pealing of bells after a solemn procession on the Piazza del Campo into the very cathedral…

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I have to admit I ❤️ Siena

P.S. Where’s Waldo is somewhere in the post – can you find him?

a cornucopia of glorious paintings


 
At the end of our Italian travels and before returning home to Vancouver from London what could be a better way to spend a day than by visiting three of my favourite galleries and being re-aquanted with some of my favourite paintings. My love for Impressionism and the Impressionists began as a fifteen year old schoolboy on a school outing to the Courtauld Gallery, so naturally our first stop was to Somerset House where the Gallery now resides.
 
Since this week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post asks us to “…share a peek of something — a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested. A tantalizing detail. An unusual perspective. Compel us to click through to your post to find out more!” I thought I would tantalize you with a selective peek at some of the Courtault’s finest that I photographed that day…
 

…before revealing the paintings in all their glory.


 
Here are their titles with links to some of them for those of you who would like to “find out more”.
 
LA LOGE – Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1874,   THE PASSERS-BY – Raoul Dufy 1906, SELF-PORTRAIT WITH BANDAGED EAR – Vincent van Gogh 1889, LANDSCAPE WITH DEAD WOOD – Maurice de Vlaminck 1906, A BAR AT THE FOLIES-BERGERE – Edouard Manet 1881, ADAM AND EVE – Lucas Cranach the Elder 1526, ROUTE TOURNANTE – Paul Cézanne 1904, THE WHITE BOAT, ANTWERP – Georges Braque 1906, HORSES IN THE WATER – Georges Seurat 1883.
 
Then it was off to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Cézanne Portraits exhibition and a visit with Richard the Third, Queen Elizabeth the First and even the Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
 

Finally, it was time for the highlights of the day at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square:
 

 
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, 1491, with my favourite sublime portrait of the accompanying angel.
 

Isn’t she beautiful?

And in the same room, Raphael’s magnificent The Ansidei Madonna, 1505…
 

 
…together with Michelangelo’s unfinished The Madonna and Child with St John and Angels, 1497
 

It was quite a day as you can see, and after our Italian holiday what better way to finish than by visiting Room 38 to see Canaletto’s Venice: The Upper Reaches of the Grand Canal with S. Simeone Piccolo
 

 

I hope you have enjoyed peeking over my shoulder on our memorable day London.

Italy Day Two: Florence

The view from the Pontevecchio this morning after we arrived from Rome was simply breathtaking. 



More photos for this week’s photo challenge: scale. On to the Tuscan countryside in the morning. 

Whether you have two legs or four there is nothing pedestrian about this pedestrian pathway, as you walk, jog or cycle beside Spanish Banks and English Bay as we did yesterday, with the Vancouver skyline in the distance.

Could this be one of the most scenic pathways in the world?…
 

…but I’m a little biased of course.

a day without color


 

I think you know me well enough by now to know where my thoughts are today. Our memorable visit to family in Las Vegas in April 2015 included a visit to the magnificent Red Rock Canyon only a forty minute drive from Downtown and which I featured on Day 115 of my 365 day challenge that year. On returning home it led to a painting of the Canyon featured on Day 134 together with its accompanying colorful palette. Today’s image is that same palette in monochrome, a way for me to express without words my feelings of sorrow, heartache and sympathy for all those lost and suffering from the tragic events that have taken place in a city that is always so full of life, color and excitement.

From Spirit Park to Spirit Dark

Spirit Dark after Guernica, in progress

Spirit Park

The evolution of today’s post:

The Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver is a beautiful jewel in our city, a place of peace and tranquility that I have posted about many times, and as recently as this week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post. On our last visit there one of my photos inspired me…

…to set up a number of sheets of newsprint on the studio wall and see where it took me with charcoal, crayon and paint.

     

I was happy that the image was progressing well and was close to being finished…

…and then yesterday morning came the news from Spain of the horrific terrorist attack killing and injuring countless innocent men, women and children from all over the world, enjoying a summer’s evening in Las Ramblas in Barcelona.  The images were heartbreaking, and one particularly was unforgettable, a baby’s stroller abandoned on the sidewalk and a child lying motionless in the street.

I shall never forget the first time I saw Picasso’s Guernica in New York in 1965.  It has haunted me ever since, and those images from Barcelona immediately brought it back to me.  It is perhaps one of the greatest works of protest art ever created, painted by Picasso after the attack on the city of Guernica in 1937.

Suddenly my Spirit Park in the studio seemed a million miles away from the reality of the carnage and horror happening across the sea, and images relating to another time in history started to appear amongst the trees together with that stroller and that beautiful innocent child.

As I send sympathy and condolences to all those suffering from yet another crime against humanity, Spirit Dark in some small way is my way of protesting these evil times.

One more photo from that morning in the park perhaps allows me to end with a ray of hope in our dark world.

that’s the spirit

Ooh, Shiny!
Diversions, distractions, and delightful detours.


 
For this week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post we are asked where do we find our “Ooh, Shiny” moments. If you follow The Changing Palette you will know one of my favourite walks is in Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park, and when the sun is out it’s all about those Ooh, Shiny moments, whether it be the height of the summer, as it was just a week or two ago…

      

…or in the cool, clear, colorful days of Fall, as I posted in October 2015

      

I hope you’re exclaiming “Ooh, Shiny!” with me 🙂

liberty weeps

August 11th and 12th, 2017 will be forever remembered as two days of infamy that brought terror, shame, evil and murder to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. I send my condolences to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, murdered as she bravely stood up against bigotry and hatred, and whose words on her Facebook read “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.”

I also send condolences to the families and friends of Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who also died as a result of the evil that visited their city.

May they all rest in peace and may Liberty’s flame act as beacon of hope.

oh I do like to be beside the seaside


 

 

 

 

A perfect summer’s day on Spanish Banks, Vancouver today. It doesn’t get much better 🙂