Tag Archives: painting

Vilnius, as painted by de Chirico: a play in two acts

Act 1 Scene: late September: HOB and WOB walk into the main square of Vilnius, Lithuania. WOB: Vilnius looks like a de Chirico painting. HOB: Wait, remind me who de Chirico is?  Oh, yeah, I think I remember.  Is he the one with the steep perspective and shadows and the girl with the hoop? WOB: […]

Travelers Among Mountains and Streams

If you have the chance to visit either Taiwan’s Taroko National Park or to tour the National Palace Museum, try to see both. At the same time. HOB and I have a friend named Paul.  He’s the best sort of friend: an Art Friend, a friend whose eyes sparkle when he talks about art, live performance and books. […]

A wardrobe malfunction in the Legend of the True Cross fresco, Arezzo

We arrived in Arezzo, a lovely art-laden town in Eastern Tuscany, with reservations to see Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross fresco cycle.  Actually, I’d booked two separate viewing times, since reservations are compulsory and limited to a 1/2 half hour and that’s not enough time for us.  As it turns out, we were the only visitors during both […]

The Allegory of Good and Bad Government: frescoes as political propaganda in Siena

Throughout Italy you’ll find almost all central town squares dominated by a church.  Not Siena: its enchanting Piazza del Campo is presided over by Palazzo Publico, aka City Hall.  Inside Palazzo Publico is another delightful surprise: secular frescoes. Ambrogio Lorenzetti painted The Allegory of Good and Bad Government frescoes inside the council chamber of Palazzo […]

Do not wear a tube top when visiting Voroneț Monastery

Listen up people: the stunning Voroneţ Monastery was built in only three months and three weeks in the year of 1488.  And if that wasn’t remarkable enough, it’s colorful exterior frescoes are magically well-preserved.  This is a world famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and you absolutely should not visit while wearing a tube top and jeans shorts.  SHOW SOME […]

The spiritual warmth of Deseşti and the wooden churches of Maramureş

So I have this thing about sacred art and architecture.  And in all my travels to see religious art in situ, I’ve never experienced sacred spaces as unique as the wooden Churches of Maramureş in Northern Transylvania.  During 1000 or so years Hungarians ruled Maramureş, they forbid the Orthodox Romanians from building churches in stone.  As a delightful result, a distinct style of […]

Romanesque frescoes in San Isidoro de León

The Chicago Public Library once had a book on Romanesque art I repeatedly checked out, renewed the maximum amount of times, and then immediately put on hold again.  I’d leave bookmarks inside of the artworks I planned to visit, and the book would usually return to me with my bookmarks intact.  One of the bookmarked […]

Giotto’s Scrovengni chapel: betrayal, revenge and dorky camels

It’s a devastating moment in the life of Joachim, a pious and generous man.  He wants most of all to give to the poor and sacrifice to the Lord, but the rabbi rudely rejects him.  As Joachim and his wife Anna are growing old but still childless, the rabbi declares they are cursed by God and unwelcome […]