Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 23, 2013
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 19, 2013
From the top of a medieval tower in the Piazza Del Campo (center of town, “plaza of the race,” Siena has yearly horse races), we could see beyond the old city walls, into the rolling fabric of Tuscany…but it was a hard won sight.
The Torre (tower) del Mangia, in the Piazza Del Campo (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 16, 2013
Some places lay beyond the veil. If you don’t know what I mean, go to Venice.
We were there four days, but I hadn’t been able to write about it.
I had no idea where I was, and I still don’t.
We arrived by train in the evening. Out the window, the land smoothed to water so quickly it seemed like an illusion. Lighting posts in the water. A train station. Seemed like any other train station.
Weary, we crack-a-lacked our baggage through the station, to the exit, where I expected we’d get a taxi to our hotel. Faintly, through the exit I saw a bus go by, I asked if we should take a bus instead, Bear said, “that’s not a bus.”
I don’t think I’ve stood with my mouth agape, so shamelessly…ever. (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 14, 2013
I’m on a train from Firenze (Florence) to Venezia (Venice). I was looking forward to a relaxing ride, with my head back, enjoying the passing countryside…didn’t realize this was a high speed train which spends most of the trip in tunnels. Nada much to see so far…so I’ll talk about somehting else for a second.
Ok other things.
Well, the sun was out in Florence today, so we sat by the river, in sight of the Ponte Vecchio.
I also bought myself some Florentine fleur de lis pins to mark my trip.
Now we’re leaving the station after our first stop, a suburb of Florence I guess, I missed the name. It’s the other side of the tracks literally. Tall, monochromatic, cement monoliths, with laundry lines, and graffiti, splashed on every stone surface. Industrial. Not Da Vinci’s World anymore. (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 12, 2013
The Ufizzi Gallery in Florence is an endurance test.
I mean, it’s a museum, with some of the world’s masterworks by the likes of Bottecelli, Da Vinci, and Michalangelo…but it will wear your ass down.
By the end of your time in those priceless halls, under the beautifully grotesque painted ceilings, you will find yourself looking at the amputee Roman sculptures with their blank marble eyeballs, saying, ”yeah man, I feel ya.”
That said, go. Just go, when you can.
The vibrations of human perception, inspiration, and interpretation have energized these works for hundreds of years, and it bounces right back at you.
I saw Botticelli’s Venus, which I’ve seen a million times on fridge magnets, t-shirts, you name it, but to see the full sized work in context with his other work, in context with other contemporary art, is to understand why the guy was popular. Subject matter in those days, was not a free for all. Botticelli could not paint a picture of his bandaged ear or splatter paint on a canvas, it was all religion, or politics (commissioned portraits etc.) or mythology, so your distinction was all style. Botticelli is, basically (and I am clearly not an art scholar) nice to look at. Beautiful. There’s a hell of a lot more going on with him, but that was the biggest impact for me – lyrical, flowing, feminine lines (in my opinion) gorgeous. In contrast, the Michelangelo I saw brought out a bright, colorful, three-dimensionality, which seemed eerily 20th century. Have to check him out some more, I have no context for this observation.
Photography is not allowed in the Ufizzi, so in case you are unfamiliar with the work,
I submit my rendering of Botticelli’s Venus from memory.
But truly, one of the last pieces I saw will stay with me forever.
Da Vinci’s version of The Annunciation. Remember last post when we talked about that? The angel who came to tell The Virgin Mary that her baby was gonna be dope? That scene. (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 11, 2013
…and buns of solid marble.
There are no photographs allowed in the Galleria Dell’ Accademia, but you’ve all seen the David. I think that was my “I am actually in Italy” moment. I’ve seen the David in so many films and photographs, that when I walked into the gallery, I had to blink.
His hands are actually very large.The veins on his hands are so lifelike I expected him to twitch. He’s not sinuous, but the muscle definition is warm, strong and relaxed. His feet are also very large.
These are my only bodily observations.
As for other observations, Italy touts them with vigor and humor.
So the pieces which grabbed my interest were actually the paintings. (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 9, 2013
Around 5 pm, after laying in bed paying penance for something I ate, I opened my eyes and silently discussed my wardrobe with myself. Bear was on the laptop clicking the keys like one of those Ghost In The Shell robots with extra mechanical fingers. Headphones on. So I looked back at the ceiling and plotted a mental pathway to the bathroom sink.
Made it to the sink. The mirror must be kidding. Either genetics, or products with a comedic sense (probably both) have made my hair resistant to physics. Not just gravity. Physics. I condition one bit of my head, and then the other side goes wack in exactly the same way, after I swear I already fixed it – as if that wack bit had a dual manifestation on my head, like electrons which exist in two places at once. My hair is an adventure in science fiction.
Outside the Odeon Theatre (the oldest movie theatre in Florence, so ya know) people were already lined up along a red carpet. (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on April 1, 2013
At the Piazza Pitti, Bear and I considered blending in with the Florentine locals. We would get asymmetrical haircuts, chic sunglasses and short cigarettes. We would recline on the angled sprawl of the Piazza, looking relaxed yet slightly… disappointed.
That EU kind of disappointed.
The kind you can only have when you’ve grown up surrounded by thousands of years of architectural glory, and it is just so 5 minutes ago.
We decided we couldn’t pull it off, and instead stood in awe. Unabashed.
It is still Easter weekend (Monday, April 1st), so the streets of Florence are a single rolling organism of people. (more…)
Posted By Raya Yarbrough on March 31, 2013
I’m on my way to Italy to do a show for a show about a Italy, on a airplane watching a TV movie about another movie eating condensed food in a bar shape pressed to taste like other food and wiggling this pen making letters about words.
Everything is a shadowed double until I get to Florence.
I dreamt that when I enter the city, my pupils will contract and the brown of my eyes will gold with the light of the renaissance.