Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ciao Italia - Sites from the shopping district

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Florence!

Ciao Italia - Santa Croce

Santa Croce is a large Renaissance church that was built by a Franciscan order in honor of St. Francis. Because St. Francis eschewed unnecessary embellishmnents, the church is fairly simple for it's era. It is, however, famous for who's buried there. Galileo, Rossini, Dante Alighieri, and Michaelangelo. This is a photo of Michelangelo's tomb. It was designed to honor the three field of endeavor that made him famous - painting, sculputure and architecture. The tomb features a trompe l'oiele canopy, angels and painted architectural pillars that top a facade that looks like a building. The three statues sitting guard also depict these three styles of art. Michelangelo is actually buried below the floor and not in the tomb.

Ciao Italia - A (rest)room with a view

Photos aren't allowed in the Galleria Uffizi - but I did sneak this one out of a ladies room window. Bella!

Ciao Italia - Don't forget to look up, and down!

This room was beautiful in it's over the top oppulence. Octagonal in shape, the floor was made up of many different marbles laid out to mimic the shape of the room. The walls are covered with dupiani silk. Not shown in this photo were beautiful tapestries hung high on the walls. In the center of the photo, behind the statue, is a miniature building - complete with inlaid with the same marbles as used on the floor. I was amazed at the people who walked through this room (well around it actually) who never looked up or down, only at that which is eye level. When visiting a museum, church or other old building - always look at the entire space - floor to ceiling.

Ciao Italia - A little angel makes a big noise

This famous image is a painting by Rosso Fiorentino entitled "Angelo musicante". I saw it today at the Uffizi Gallery. We see this little cutie in many forms - posters, mugs, inspirational books. It's telling that when I googled it - more art poster sites came up than scholarly websites. Like the "Mona Lisa", it has become a commercial property in a way that the artist could never have imagined.

Ciao Italia - Visiting the Galleria Uffizi

One of the highlights of my trip to the Galleria Uffizi were the Botticelli's - "La Primavera (Spring)" and "Birth of Venus". Botticelli was one of the first painters of his time who painted scenes from Greek and Roman myths as opposed to soley biblical scenes. These two paintings are lovely depictions of beauty and myth - including dipictions of Zephyr (Wind - on right in "La Primavera" and on left in "Birth of Venus") and the three Graces.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ciao Italia - The most bella man!

The next stop on my first day here in Florence was to the Galleria dell'Accademia, which is the home of Michelangelo's DAVID.

A little history courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art. "When in Rome at the end of the 15th Century, Michelangelo carved the first of his major works, the Bacchus (Florence, Bargello) and the St Peter's Pietà, which was completed by the turn of the century. It is highly finished and shows that he had already mastered anatomy and the disposition of drapery, but above all it shows that he had solved the problem of the representation of a full-grown man stretched out nearly horizontally on the lap of a woman, the whole being contained in a pyramidal shape.

The Pietà made his name and he returned to Florence in 1501 as a famous sculptor, remaining there until 1505. During these years he was extremely active, carving the gigantic David (1501-4, now in the Accademia), the Bruges Madonna (Bruges, Notre Dame), and beginning the series of the Twelve Apostles for the Cathedral which was commissioned in 1503 but never completed (the St Matthew now in the Accademia is the only one which was even blocked in). At about this time he painted the Doni Tondo of the Holy Family with St John the Baptist (Florence, Uffizi) and made the two marble tondi of the Madonna and Child (Florence, Bargello; London, Royal Academy). You can visit the Web Gallery of Art and the Polo Museale for more photos and information. I didn't take photos in this museum. I didn't see any signs posted prohibiting photo taking, but since no one else was taking pics and there are so many available online, I figured I'd pass on playing camp photog on this one.

On the road to Florence!

Well, the first leg of my trip to Florence included a celebrity! World renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma was on board! I heard him paged in Boston but I didn't see him until Frankfurt (I'm not traveling first class!) where he was being patted down by security. Ah - the life of celebrity. I've seen him in concert and he never seems to age! Anyway - am waiting for my flight to take off from Frankfurt where I will be posting about art, interior decor and all things Italian!


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore, Pt. 6

This is a very cool piece by Tord Boontje. A quick decoration for the holidays. Purchase here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore, Pt. 5

These tiny ballgowns are actually sachets filled with imported french lavender. To make them yourself, sew together 2- 3"x5" pieces of fabric, leaving one end open. Turn, fill with dried lavender and glue or sew shut. Using scraps of fabrics and trims, add a skirt and straps and hang on purchased small wire hangers. They look great and smell even better. To purchase, click here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving - A Pilgrim's Progress

Straight out of history -Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, MA (my neighbors) offers these items suitable for your traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Holiday Entertaining - Tea Towels by Sukie

Sukie is a British Company that sells these quirky and slightly retro tea towels, among other products. Perfect for holiday entertaining!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore, Pt. 4

Holiday Warmth from Restoration Hardware. Perfect for the mantle, non-working fireplace and any place a little old-fashioned warmth is needed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore, Part the third

The Artful Home offers some beautiful hand blown glass ornaments. Stunning!

Holiday decorating 101

For a simple, yet elegant holiday decoration, fill a basic glass vase with walnuts that have been sprayed gold. Classic and timeless. For a little added pizzaz and texture, add a spray of branches.

Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore, Part2

Paper Mojo has these beautiful, double sided, collection of wrapping papers with fabulous, slightly retro feeling designs. Great for more than just gift wrapping. Cut out the pictures and decoupage onto a lamp shade or barrel for a creative, one of a kind gift!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Porto de Mos

Porto de Mos artisans specialize in tile mural art. Their designs are old world and reflect traditional floral art, religious art and seascapes. Ceramic tile murals are decorative tiles that are put together to make hand painted tile murals. Their tiles and mural works are distinctive, beautiful, old world and classic.

The Porter Garden Telescope - Science meets Art

I met Russ Schleipman at an IDFA event yesterday. Russ is the marketing and communications director for Telescopes of Vermont. His father, Fred Schleipman, is a scientist and tool maker who is now reproducing the Porter Garden Telescope, an amazing piece of sculpture for the garden that is also a fine piece of technology. Russell Porter made history with this beautiful and functional creation in the early 1920s. It now resides in the Smithsonian.

Russ showed us the telescope - and as a piece of art, it is stunningly beautiful and lovingly crafted. A treasure, to be sure.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

::La Murrina - murano glass blown into contemporary designs

La Murrina is a collaboration of Italian master glassblowers creating signature chandeliers and lighted scupltures. Stunning, contemporary, timeless.

Monday, November 06, 2006

10th Annual Boston International Art Show

November 9-12, 2006

The Cyclorama
At The Boston Center for The Arts
539 Tremont Street, in the South End

New England's Premiere Showcase for
Contemporary and Traditional Fine Art

Over 40 Outstanding Galleries from the US,
Europe and Canada offering:
• Paintings • Works on Paper • Sculpture
• Photography • Fine Prints • Mixed Media
• Studio Furniture, Glass and Ceramics

Thursday November 9, 6-9 pm

To Benefit
Artists For Humanity

for more information, click here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

True Confessions: "The cobblers' children...

... have no shoes". We've all heard this saying. It's so true for so many professions, including my own. Well, more specifically, me. People always say to me "you must have a beautiful house". My answer is yes, but... What I really have is a home filled with half finished projects. It takes me forever to finish what I start. I appear to have a high tolerance for the incomplete. It took me a year to finish the border in my bedroom.

A friend asked how I could stand it. Well... I don't really notice it on a daily basis. But, the truth is, once I actually finished my bedroom, I was thrilled!! Especially on the days I make my bed - but that's a different confession...

So... the point of this is that I need help. While I'm totally finish-line driven when it comes to my clients' projects, I neglect my own. And my biggest current unfinished project is a 4-wall mural in my foyer and stair well. I've been working on this for over 3 years, could be 4, I've lost track. In truth, it was a big project to take on - especially for someone who is afraid of heights and doesn't like 3 foot step ladders, let alone 30' extension nightmares. So, I've had the help of kind friend with ladders and no fears. And still, unfinished.

I'm about half way done, I would guess. My theme is "The Secret Garden", one of my favorite childhood books. I have a painted hedge, stone wall, wrought iron fencing, blue sky and clouds. Plus, there will be a trompe l'oeil doorway that opens into the secret garden. Very ambitious, very unfinished...

This was the newly started project. Obviously, something was needed!

What would we do without our friends!

A little progress (this photo is at least 2 years old!) The current status is the photo at the top of this post, as taken today. Some progress, but nothing to shout about. I plan on documenting my progress on this blog as a way of embarrassing myself into finishing. So, please feel free to post, or email, your words of support, encouragement and criticism. I can take it! I need it!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hatti Design - Custom embroidered silks

In a word - amazing! Hatti Design offers custom embroidered silks and custom jacquards available in lot sizes from 10 yards to 10,000+. They offer a standard catalogue of patterns. But better still, do you have a pattern you want them to replicate? Done! Select from the finest threads from Japan and Germany and silks from the heart of the silk manufacturing world - India. Their US office is based in Newton, Massachusetts with manufacturing facilities in India. Shipping is available to the US and Europe.

Something truly unique and one of a kind!

Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore - Part 1

It's November already and time to start thinking about our Holiday Shopping lists! One of my favorite new things is the website Design-Her-Gals. The ladies there have created an electronic "paper doll" type of service for women to create likenesses of themselves, or their best friends, moms, sisters, daughters, etc. You can pick and choose complexion, body type, hair, eyes and lots of choices for clothing and accessories. It's pretty amazing how close the final product can be. (see above and then check out my photo)
They offer a variety of products from note cards to stickers, t-shirts and mugs.

Proceeds of all sales help fund their Gal to Gal Foundation which "identifies, partners with, and provides funding to existing organizations dedicated to the emotional and financial well-being of Stage IV Breast Cancer survivors."

So, it's a great way to celebrate your friends and yourself, while doing good. (Gee, hope none of my friends are reading this...)