THE SHOCK OF THE NEW

Each time I discover a new town, city, or country, I love understanding its roots, prejudices, superstitions, beliefs, heritage, moments of glory and despair: everything that makes up its mindset. If I get to understand the mindset, I can feel local art so much better. This is my thing; and thank you, the Daily Prompt, for making me think about my little fad.

A few photographic examples of how a mindset can be linked to art will be good at this point, right? As I am in Italy now, let’s do Italy.

This is an Italian woman who gracefully moves out of the frame, with dignity, serenity, and a good measure of sex appeal, followed by an Italian man who doesn’t care a bit about me pretending to take a picture of this unremarkable street. All he cares about is this woman, in front of him. He awes at her grace from a distance, but not to the extent of falling off his bike.

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What does it tell me about Italian art?

That only an Italian master, regardless of his own age, can paint a true timeless Madonna. Especially a gray-haired Italian artist, whose sexual obsessions are in the past (his romantic escapades may not necessarily be safely buried, though).

Madonna

Filippo Lippi

This ONE street scene helps me get back seven hundred years and look at 13th century art in ways art historians have never thought about:

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Architectural detail of a cathedral in Lucca, Italy

The double-tailed mermaid is watched by a centaur whose eyes reflect a tint of longing and amazement. The lady holding a bike and the man riding one turn out to be a logical (and so 21st century) extension of this mythological (and so 13th century) original.

Of course I am not serious.

How one can be serious in a country, where Dad drives a pink Vespa, Mom drives a black Fiat, and their irreverent daughter rides an old rusty bike?

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Whatever you may think about this family, it is a family of patriots.

And (seriously this time) Italians’ love for their country is one of the main ingredients in Italian art.

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7 thoughts on “THE SHOCK OF THE NEW

  1. Boryana

    If you have time, go to the Museum of Modern Art in Rome and you will change your opinion. There is good contemporary Italian art with a lot of ‘italianness’ in it. The thing is that no contemporary art can come close to Italian renaissance art, but this is another discussion. The museum is also extremely well organised and the information well presented. I ‘lived’ there for 2 days last January – strongly recommended.
    Thanks for another delightful read!

    Reply
    1. artmoscow Post author

      Thank you )
      I’ve been to this gallery a couple of times, and I think I remember most of it – at least up to Arte Povere, of which I am a great admirer (there’s a post on Pistoletto somewhere in this blog) but I’ve not seen lately any contemporary (non modern) artist that would really impress me. Perhaps, I need to revisit this museum, but I don’t plan to be in Rome this summer. Perhaps, sometime in the autumn when I will be travelling from Rome to Assisi, etc.

      Reply
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  4. Spiros

    I would say that Italy appeals to us not just because is beautiful, many countries are, but because they know how to make this beauty beeing attractive as well. And that also applies to art.

    Reply

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