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La Serenissima and serenella

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Close your eyes for a moment and let an azure-lidded fantasy flood your mind. hqdefaultIf you could pick one place on Earth where you could return at least for one moment, where would you go….to Rome, Florence, your home or maybe other places? I take myself to Venice. DSC04476Venice is an absolutely amazing place to visit. Even the most sceptical of travellers can’t help but fall prey to its charms. It’s a strange one really as it can be bustling with a lot of tourists in some parts of it and then just a few minutes walk away and you’ll find yourself exploring quiet, hidden streets – devoid of the throngs of tourists.

Without hesitation, Serenissima with the air perfumed with intoxicating fragrance is always worth it!

DSC04135Today I take a trip down memory lane by sharing my Easter trip to Venice.  “Everything that can be said and written about Venice has been said and written.” The author of these words was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1786 no less. Anyway, I am going on here to tell my story. I will write myself into well-being  🙂DSC04919Serenissimo’ was a Byzantine title, bestowed upon the Doge and the Signoria at first, then extended to the entire Republic of Venice.

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Venice. The Piazza San Marco Looking East Towards the Basilica. Date: c. 1730

‘Most Serene’ was an honorary appellate and an indicator of sovereignty. But there is another reason why Venice has continued carrying this nickname, which has become legendary, just as the city itself, through the centuries.DSC04373From the outside, Venice looked like a peaceful place, spared from the turmoil affecting so many other cities. The choice to focus on maritime trade brought prosperity, and the establishment of an oligarchic, liberal republic laid the foundation for a solid state, universally accepted by its citizens, who, no matter their class, seemed to get along well, united by the devotion for the territory they lived in. Even when dealing with foreign policy affairs, Venice often tried to avoid conflict and disputes, preferring mediation and peace.

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Venice: A Regatta on the Grand Canal  c.1733-4

On these bases, Venice could well be described as ‘serene’, so much so that it was able to survive for three centuries its political, military and commercial decline, caused by Turkish expansion and the discovery of the Americas. Diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity, the main aspects of the history of Venice, have indeed made it ‘Serenissima. Even when dealing with foreign policy affairs, Venice often tried to avoid conflict and disputes, preferring mediation and peace. On these bases, Venice could well be described as ‘serene’, so much so that it was able to survive for three centuries its political, military and commercial decline, caused by Turkish expansion and the discovery of the Americas. Diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity, the main aspects of the history of Venice, have indeed made it ‘Serenissima. Venice has been an inspiration  …for… many famous’s writers, artists and musicians …

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Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, painted 1729–32

Of all the artists who’ve glorified Venice in the paint, Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768) – better known as Canaletto – probably knew and loved her best. From early on, he was favoured by the English aristocracy, many of whom commissioned works directly from him while they were on the Grand Tour, or bought his paintings, drawings and prints from British agents or Venetian publishers whenever they were unable to travel to the Continent. We know that he was born in Venice in October 1697, that his father was a well-known painter of theatrical scenery, and that his earliest training consisted of designing theatre sets with his father. The latter fact may account, in part, for the strain of theatricality that runs throughout Canaletto’s work and that became quite pronounced in some of his later paintings – although seldom at the expense of the overall accuracy of the views depicted.

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Rome The Forum with the Temple of Castor and Pollux – Bernardo Bellotto Canaletto

In 1719 he went to Rome for further study but returned to Venice in 1720 to begin his career as an artist. Success came rather quickly. His views of Venice caught on – not among the local art lovers, who tended to look down on his efforts, but among the high-ranking “tourists,” especially those from England, who wanted them as souvenirs of their visit.

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London Somerset House Canaletto

Sales declined, however, shortly after 1740, and so in 1746, he went off to London. He remained there – except for a brief trip to Venice in 1751 – until 1755, painting and selling views of that city and of the country houses of the British aristocracy. His final years were spent in his home city, where he died in 1768, honoured rather belatedly by his colleagues and with no possessions beyond a few paintings, a little cash, and a small piece of property. Close your eyes for the second moment please imagine the sea, ship, sun. DSCF8316Here’s the story: in 2008 a wreck was discovered off the coast of East Africa.http-hypebeast.comimage201704damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-1

 

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It was the remains of a sunken ship called the Apistos, means ‘Untrustworthy’ as well as ‘Unbelievable’ in ancient Greek, which was laden with treasures from across the ancient world. The ship and its precious cargo belonged to the vastly wealthy Cif Amotan II, a collector who was transporting the artefacts to a specially built temple. Instead, they languished for centuries at the bottom of the ocean, suffering various kinds of sea-change, collecting multiple encrustations of coral, barnacles and shells. Please wake up we are travelling by Serenella boat to visit Palazzo Grassi in Venice, see the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’  🙂  We are travelling by Serenella boat to visit Palazzo Grassi in Venice, see the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’  🙂DSC04957It is the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since the 2004 retrospective at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples (“The Agony and Ecstasy”) and presented at Palazzo Grassi.DSC04401-1It is the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since 2004. The exhibition is displayed across 5,000 square meters of museum space. Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ has been almost ten years in the making. I don’t want to mention about cost.damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-palazzo-grassi-designboom-1800He turns ancient history on its head and gives a nod to the way fake news and post-truth culture has us second guessing everything.It is made up entirely of rusty knives and spoons, ancient tablets and crumbling, coral-covered statues that were “salvaged” from the wreckage of a historic fake ship: The Unbelievable. The statues take inspiration from real artefacts in museums and historical sites across the globe.

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While many of the sculptures are made of bronze and marble, aluminium, polyester and fibreglass are all used to recreate damage from the sea.

Some of the ‘artifacts’ are accompanied by ‘salvage’ videos from the archaeologist’s expedition to the underwater shipwreck, adding another layer of confusion to the fakery. Love it or hate it. DSCF8219-1I find marble painted to look like leather or polished to look like vinyl, jade carved to look like barnacles, malachite carved to look like skin, and everywhere bronze gilded or roughened or recoloured and refashioned. DSCF8186-1The figures — mostly human forms, though a whole menagerie of animals real and mythological features too, including a gold unicorn’s head at the seaward prow of the Dogana building — echo every phase of cultures past, from Renaissance to Buddhist, classical to pre-Columbian.DSCF8179-1There is Mercury, there is also Mickey Mouse.

eeeIf the narrative has a presiding deity it would be Medusa, the blood from whose severed head, you will remember, was believed by the ancients to have turned into the coral.DSCF8233-1I find also conservation story: the bust-up relic recovered from the wreck, then a restored cleaner version, and finally the smooth “copy” often made from ancient originals. DSCF8194 Thera is freestanding museum vitrines, with orderly shelves of ancient implements, nuggets, coins, weird natural wonders — all of course specially created, and in astonishing detail. But before all this, filling the entire central courtyard as one enters the Palazzo Grassi, is the biggest, most gobsmacking piece yet. Some 18 metres high, towering right up the four storeys of the building, is a mighty headless figure — recognisably William Blake’s “Ghost of a Flea”, with its talons instead of toes and its scaly back.

There is awe-inspiring craftsmanship on display here: some of the marble carving, done by a single quarry in Carrara, is superb. The attention to detail is almost obsessive, all objects are oversized, overcoloured, overemphasised. Definitely, Damien Hirst’s new show in Venice is causing controversy.

DSCF8215It’s very easy to say, I could have done that after someone’s done it. But he did it. You didn’t. It didn’t exist until someone did it. Few artists have attacked him for using their ideas. John LeKay said the skulls were his idea. John Armleder … was doing spot paintings. And some say Walter Robinson did the spin paintings first. Hirst’s tribute was: “Fuck ’em all!” In 2006 he said  “Lucky for me, when I went to art school we were a generation where we didn’t have any shame about stealing other people’s ideas. You call it a tribute”. Hirst’s exhibition makes you question the fakeness and reality of what you’re seeing, and why we go to museums at all. Believe or not; is he lying or is he telling the truth or everything he says is false or is neither true nor false, maybe this is something between true or lie. Just moment if is both true and false, then is only false. But then, it is not true. Since initially was true and is now not true ………what means maybe it is a Liar’s paradox.DSCF8211-1 To seek, to get lost, to go beyond. This is why I visited Venice.DSC05110To push beyond the horizon line, to hit new horizons.  Return to Glasgow – inspired, renewed.

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A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Take a photograph and

share the secret dream of someday living

Ella

Europe, I love you

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The map marvelously and efficiently compresses time and space, legend and fact into a single image. It is in some ways a one-page visual précis, presented in geographical terms, of the vast information contained in the encyclopaedia it introduces. Map’s colours make it one of the most fascinating drawings.

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For me, the most important map is Europa Regina. I don’t think it is my best map nor in artistic neither in historical reasons but it means …very much for me. Europa Regina, Latin for Queen Europe, is the map-like depiction of the European continent as a queen. Introduced and made popular during the mannerist period, Europe is shown standing upright with the Iberian Peninsula forming her crowned head, and Bohemia her heart. Her long gown stretches to Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Livonia, Bulgaria, Muscovy, Albania and Greece. In her arms, formed by Italy and Denmark, she holds a sceptre and an orb (Sicily). The cartographical personification of Europe as a regal woman is tied to the Hapsburg court and the engraver Johannes Putsch, or, as he latinized his name for humanist readers, Johannes Bucius.  Bucius’ map was reproduced in a  widely popular Cosmographia assembled by Sebastian Munster’s Cosmographia from its 1570 edition. The map was first printed by Calvinist Christian Wechel.

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If you tell me whom you admire I could probably tell you a great deal about hopes, dreams, and personal styles and I am not a psychic………….

I just want to live in the European city.

I do not need anything fancy, but I do need a bed to read and sleep in, a big table to eat and write on, as well as some space for my books, and something to put my clothes in.

I want to wake up and drink coffee overlooking the city that I do not know very well and am very hungry to explore.

I do not want to spend my time with people, who do not really care.

I want to wander around and truly live.

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Ella

……Imagine all the people sharing all the world…. 

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one   JOHN LENNON

Is come to me

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The birthday of my life, was come, was come to me.

My Birthday!

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Every birthday, not just the one special marking a new decade and all of them are special as the milestones. Every year brings its 365 life lessons. We turn not older with years, but newer every day. So, last month I reached a point where I asked myself about why we even bother to celebrate birthdays?

IMG_20160531_130855-1 I am not really big on major birthday gatherings. Many people who love you will try to celebrate your birthday, but no one can celebrate your birthday exactly the way you need for. This because no one really knows you need this day.777

The ancient Greeks believed that each person had a spirit that attended his or her birth, and kept watch. The Greeks most likely took the idea of birthday celebration from the Egyptians, since just like the celebration of the pharaohs as “gods,” the Greeks were celebrating their gods and goddesses.They offered moon-shaped cakes to Artemis, as a form of tribute to the lunar goddess. To recreate the radiance of the moon and her perceived beauty, Greeks lit candles and put them on cakes for a glowing effect. The lit candles symbolized the moon’s glowing light. Ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays for the common man (but just the men). The prevailing opinion seems to be that the Romans were the first civilization to celebrate birthdays for non-religious figures. Romans would celebrate birthdays for friends and families, while the government created public holidays to observe the birthdays of more famous citizens. Those celebrating a 50th birthday party would receive a special cake made of wheat flour, olive oil, honey and grated cheese.

tumblr_inline_nvsebrNaAw1spmxnr_500Sad to say but female birthdays still weren’t celebrated until around the 12th century. And as if this were not enough, Christians initially considered birthdays to be a pagan ritual. In the past, they didn’t celebrate birthdays historically, because of that link to paganism. Pagans thought that evil spirits lurked on days of major changes, like the day you turn a year older. Due to its belief that humans are born with “original sin” and the fact that early birthdays were tied to “pagan” gods, the Christian Church considered birthday celebrations evil for the first few hundred years of its existence. Around the 4th century, Christians changed their minds and began to celebrate the birthday of Jesus as the holiday of Christmas. This new celebration was accepted into the church partly in hopes of recruiting those already celebrating the Roman holiday of Saturnalia44444

Although the general idea of celebrating birthdays had already started taking off around the world — like in China, where a child’s first birthday was specifically honoured. Eating long noodles or “Mee” which signify a long life. Eating and passing out red dyed eggs to symbolize happiness and the renewal of life.

There is evidence of the use of candles on cakes at birthday celebrations in 18th Century Germany. This version of the tradition can be traced to Kinderfest (Kinder is the German word for ‘children’), a birthday celebration for children. This celebration was held for children and involved both birthday cake and candles. Kids got one candle for each year they’d been alive, plus another to symbolize the hope of living for at least one more year. and making a wish was also a part of these celebrations.Ludwig_Knaus_-_Ein_Kinderfest_(1868)The Industrial Revolution brought delicious cakes to the masses. For quite some time, birthday celebrations involving sugary cakes were only available to the very wealthy, as the necessary ingredients were considered a luxury.Girls_with_birthday_cake._Postcard_from_1920

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We need to remember that Glasgow had been refining sugar since the 1660’s, and so much of what was brought ashore at Greenock and Port Glasgow was shipped up the river by cart. However, the first commercial refinery was not established in Greenock.  It was built by Mr Mark Kuhl, and employed just a handful of men. At this time, there was no town in the Empire, outside of London, carrying out the trade so extensively and Greenock rightfully earned the title of Sugaropolis, the sugar capital of Scotland.

But the industrial revolution allowed celebrations like kinderfest and the subsequent equivalents in other cultures to proliferate. Not only did the required ingredients become more abundant, but bakeries also started offering pre-made cakes at lower prices due to advances in mass production, such as the scene above capturing workers of one of the many Cadby Hall bakeries of the late 19th century.hip0244324Meanwhile, the introduction of baking powder saw the style of cakes change from dense, yeast-based bakes, into cakes made with flour, eggs, fat and a raising agent and the advent of baking powder sees cakes become lighter. Probably the most popular in 19 century was a just traditional fruitcake.50031665.tifAlso, it’s unclear who change  the words  of the song “Good Morning To All,”  to the words of “Happy Birthday To You.”happybirthday1Yes, famous The Birthday Song is a remix, kind of. In 1893, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a song they called, “Good Morning To All,” which was intended to be sung by students before classes began. The song eventually caught on across America, giving rise to a number of variations. Robert Coleman eventually published a songbook in 1924, adding a few extra lyrics that would quickly come to overshadow the original lines. The new rendition became the version we now all know, “Happy Birthday To You.”999

So, Today it might be your birthday.

If it is

Happy Birthday!

Laugh more often

Stop trying to please everybody

Start pleasing yourself

Don’t worry be happy

Cherish your dreams

Express love every day

Search for authentic self until you find her

Breath deeply and often

Move, walk, dance, run…….

Happy Birthday to you!

🙂

Ella

 

 

Hello, Rabbit

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Hello, Rabbit, he said, is that you? Let’s pretend it isn’t, said Rabbit, and see what happens- Milne

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Time to hop into March!

And who better to do it than the Rabbit and his cousin Hare. In general, both are associated with the Moon, magic, luck, love, creativity, success, sensitivity, agility, spontaneity, abundance, and rebirth and, of course, fertility. In Chinese myth, it is said that the Buddha called all animals to his side before he was to leave this world, but only 12 came – the rabbit being the fourth to come bid him farewell.  In Indian legend, it was said that Buddha was a hare in one of his earlier incarnations. In Christianity hares and rabbits, associated with the Goddess and unblemished white rabbits symbolizing purity, piety, and the Holy Virgin. In Judaism, the rabbit is considered an unclean animal, because “does not have a divided hoof.” In Greco-Roman myth, the hare is symbolic of romantic love, abundance, sexuality and tremendous fertility. 340px-pederastic_gifts_macron_louvre_g142_n3

Hares were also associated with the Artemis, goddess of wild places and the hunt, and new-born hares were not to be killed but left to her protection. In Greece, the gift of a rabbit was a common love token from a man to his male or female lover. In Rome, the gift of a rabbit was intended to help a barren wife conceive. Carvings of rabbits eating grapes and figs appear on both Greek and Roman tombs, where they symbolize the transformative cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In Egyptian tradition, the rabbit is connected to the very essence of being.  These mystical creatures, known throughout the world in legend, lore, and literature, are gentle leaders, pushing us toward fertile grounds, physically, mentally and spiritually. f7c3b6fffeca6b802a16c9fc618f90c610ce7e39tutankhamuns-tomb

Even in the stars, we can see the mysticism of Rabbit.

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Across the night sky, the constellation Lepus is the Hare that forever eludes Orion’s hunting dogs. However, also rabbits and hares have long been associated with witches or as witches themselves in animal form and the ability to walk between the worlds and commune with the faeries.

However, also rabbits and hares have long been associated with witches or as witches themselves in animal form and the ability to walk between the worlds and commune with the faeries.

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They were animal’s witches, playing the role now given to cats. Their ability to dart quickly amidst the shadows as they walk between the earthly realm and the spirit realm, often disappearing and reappearing in the blink of an eye, makes them privy to hidden knowledge and wisdom. Rabbits serve as witches’ familiars and messengers and were believed to be the form into which witches most frequently transform. The association of rabbits with witches is not limited to Europe. In China, rabbits are identified with witches, alchemy, and sorcery.

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Instead of a man in the moon, China has an alchemist rabbit in the moon, endlessly grinding the elixir of immortality with his mortar and pestle, a servant of witch goddess Hsi Wang Mu.

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At the 16th and 17th centuries in Scotland as well as elsewhere in Europe, the Christianity we know about from history books was mainly practiced by the elite. Royals and the aristocracy were the first converts, often for political reasons.

King James VI of Scotland is most well-known for commissioning the King James Bible. For this, he is celebrated by Christians in the English-speaking world to this day.

daemonologie_1356163726But, many people don’t know about his role in the Scottish witch hunts. Another book was also written by the King’s own hand.  Daemonologie was a handbook on demons, witchcraft, and the devil. Prior to James’ reign, witch hunts were not especially common in Scotland. James developed an interest in witchcraft that appears to have bordered on obsession. He signed a law in 1591 which made the torture of witches legal, and he is said to have attended witch trials personally. His writings on witchcraft became incredibly popular and influential. Shakespeare is said to have used Daemonologie as a source for information on the witches that feature in such plays as Macbeth.

About 75 years after James’ book, in 1662, Isobel Gowdie, a Scotswoman, apparently volunteered a detailed confession of witchcraft. She described how she and her fellow coven members transformed into hares via a magical chant. Isabel was a young housewife from Auldearn in Nairnshire who is remembered not just for being tried as a witch, but for her detailed confession. She claimed to have been in league with the Devil for fifteen years and first met him at a church in Auldearn. She claimed that her coven members could even change the shape of animals.

Rabbit witches serve as entertainment for children: in Katherine Pyle’s illustrated 1895 children’s book, The Rabbit Witch and Other Tales, a rabbit Witch in a head scarf steals naughty children; in Walter De La Mare’s children’s poem, “The Hare”, “an old witch-hare” gets spooked herself.

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I remember the Hansel and Gretel story, the classic fairy tale where the Witch Hazel plays the witch who tries to cook and eat the children. Once Hazel realizes that Bugs is a rabbit, she tries to cook him instead, using a carrot as a lure.

I am asking myself is that cute little a bunny doing horrible violence to people and it does beg a question? What the hell is going on?

999Through the Easter rabbit, the Chinese zodiac sign of the rabbit, the Energizer bunny, the cereal Trix bunny, the animated Bugs Bunny, Beatrix Potter’s charming Peter Rabbit, Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”‘s White Rabbit, and March Hare, the phrase “Mad as a March Hare” ,” The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams, “Watership Down” by Richard Adams blog-rabbit Disney’s character Thumper from “Bambi”, the African American tales of B’rer Rabbit, the animated film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (with the famously sexy Jessica Rabbit), the trickster rabbit from Native American to African tales, in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” as the famous Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, the sexy Playboy Bunny, the rabbit’s foot for luck, the rabbit in the moon, as a witch’s familiar, bunny slippers, the American name for a Volkswagen car………………………………… the list goes on.

The usual imagery of the rabbit in Medieval art is that of purity and helplessness. But in medieval manuscripts, the image of the rabbit’s revenge is often used to show the cowardice or stupidity of the person illustrated.

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However, what about the hare? Well, the hare, called by its Latin name ‘lepus’, also has an entry in the Bestiaries and, of course, it has a Christian symbol behind it. In theory, the hare represented the man that feared God, but put his trust in him, and not in people.800px-1505_piero_di_cosimo_venus_mars_and_cupid_anagoria

Piero di Cosimo: the image of Venus and Mars, a cupid lying on Venus clings to a white rabbit. The three hares at Paderborn Cathedral- The Hasenfenster called as hare windows in Paderborn Cathedral, in which three hares are depicted with only three ears between them, forming a triangle, can be seen as a symbol of the Trinity, and probably go back to an old symbol for the passage of time.paderborner_dom_dreihasenfenster

More hares in Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut and also Titian’s painting.

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Titians’s painting the Holy Family with the Three Hares (1497) is the unusual presentation of the rabbit.40-07-07/50Madonna with the Infant Jesus playing with a white rabbit, together with the basket of bread and wine, a symbol of the sacrificial death of Christ, the picture may be interpreted as the resurrection of Christ after death. I find, in contrast to this painting is a tiny squashed rabbit at the base of the columns in Jan van Eyck’s Rolin Madonna symbolize “Lust”, as part of a set of references in the painting to all the Seven Deadly Sins.

In non-religious art, for example in the Hunting still life with lap dog and monkey by Jan Weenix .(1714) the rabbit appears in the same context as in antiquity: as prey for the hunter, or maybe representing spring or autumn, as well as an attribute of Venus and a symbol of physical love.  b15ae303840d60e93ced299d1bdf54d5-jpghunting-still-life-with-lap-dog-and-monkey-by-jan-weenixIn Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, rabbits are depicted more often than hares. In an allegory on lust by Pisanello, a naked woman lies on a couch with a rabbit at her feet. a45a86b391b5958e27f3026eec3cb399Pinturicchio’s scene of Susanna in the Bath is displayed in the Vatican’s Borgia Apartment. Here, each of the two old men is accompanied by a pair of hares or rabbits, clearly indicating wanton lust.hunting-still-lifeBack to still lifes painting in Dutch Golden Age. These Flemish equivalents often included a moralizing element which was understood by their original viewers without assistance: fish and meat can allude to religious dietary precepts, fish indicating fasting while great piles of meat indicate voluptas carnis (lusts of the flesh), especially if lovers are also depicted. Rabbits and birds, perhaps in the company of carrots and other phallic symbols, were easily understood by contemporary viewers in the same sense.jan_weenix_-_still_life_of_a_dead_hare_partridges_and_other_birds_in_a_niche_-_google_art_projectAs small animals with fur, hares and rabbits allowed the artist to showcase his ability in painting this difficult material. Dead hares appear in the works of the earliest painter of still life collections of foodstuffs in a kitchen setting, Frans Snyders, and remain a common feature, very often sprawling hung up by a rear leg, in the works of Jan Fyt, Adriaen van Utrecht and many other specialists in the genre.

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In modern art, Joseph Beuys was the artist who always finds a place for a rabbit in his works, sees it as symbolizing resurrection. In the context of his action “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”, he stated that the rabbit “…has a direct relationship to birth… For me, the rabbit is the symbol of incarnation. Because the rabbit shows in reality what man can only show in his thoughts. He buries himself, he buries himself in a depression. He incarnates himself in the earth, and that alone is important.

The Welsh sculptor Barry Flanagan (1944-2009) was best known for his energetic bronzes of hares, which he produced throughout his career. Many have a comic element, and the length and thinness of the hare’s body is often exaggerated.

 

66The most famous hare in the history of art is probably The Young Hare, a watercolour painting by Albrecht Dürer, now preserved in the Albertina in Vienna.6a00e54fcf7385883401bb07c6a418970d-800wiDürer’s image is seen in the context of his other nature studies, such as his almost equally famous Meadow or his Bird Wings. He chose to paint these in watercolour or gouache, striving for the highest possible precision and “realistic” representation. This hare painting probably does not have a symbolic meaning, but it does have an exceptional reception history. A reproduction of Dürer’s hare has often been a permanent component of bourgeois living rooms in Germany.

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The picture has been repeatedly printed in textbooks, published in countless reproductions, embossed in copper, wood or stone, represented three-dimensionally in plastic or plaster, encased in plexiglass, painted on ostrich eggs, printed on plastic bags, surreally distorted in Hasengiraffe by Martin Missfeldt, reproduced as a joke by Fluxus artists, and cast in gold or to be sold cheaply in galleries. Sigmar Polke has also engaged with the hares on paper or textiles, or as part of his installations. Dieter Roth’s Köttelkarnikel (Turd bunny) is a copy of Dürer’s hare made from rabbit droppings, and Klaus Staeck enclosed one in a little wooden box, with a hole cut out of it, so that it could look out and breathe. And one more, it wasn’t until the 18th century that rabbits began to be seen as a food for the poor since by then they were ubiquitous in the wild but it is another story.

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I have been born in the year of the Rabbit.

I am Rabbit.

I can be anywhere.

I can be everywhere.

I am outside time.

I am outside dimension.

Time to hop into spring!

Ella

Winter holiday in the snow.

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227094-hello-january-winter-quote January is a fresh start.  This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within. A new chapter in life waiting to be writing, new questions to be asked embraced and loved. Become open to the changes that the answers will inevitably bring. There are challenging times in which to live. But, we are not the only generation to have difficult days.Each year, as Bing Crosby sang, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and it’s happened for me. My Christmas Holiday Season was white :).

Away from  Scotland, I was digging through some of the fascinating chemistry behind the white stuff! I know that winter holiday in the snow is always the season challenging, I am enjoying my winter vacation. Even though it is cold, there are lots of fun. Things I wish I’d known when I was younger.cofSnow is of course formed in clouds where the temperature is less that zero Celsus degree this means that the water vapour present will start to crystallise and form a snowflake. Snow crystals are structures with a very high level of order and we can see this when we look at a snowflake in a lot of detail. Whilst they are not always absolutely symmetrical, snowflakes do follow similar patterns.86218b43fa3605ae7d6af6370034fb81This is because a snowflake’s shape reflects the internal order of the water molecules. Water molecules in the solid state, such as in ice and snow, form weak bonds (called hydrogen bonds) with one another. These ordered arrangements result in the symmetrical, hexagonal shape of the snowflake. As we know water and ice often appear clear and colourless but snow appears to be white, this is because snowflakes have so many surfaces, owing to its crystal structure, that reflects light and scatters most of the rays that hit it.cofBut the winter holiday in the snow is always the season challenging, many winter sports rely on having well-carpeted slopes throughout the season, and sometimes a helping hand is needed in the form of artificial snow. Like so many scientific innovations, the first artificial snow was created by lucky accident. In the 1940s, a group of Canadian scientists were trying to study the effects of rime ice (the white ‘frost’ that forms on surfaces) on jet engines. In an attempt to re-create real outdoor conditions they were throwing water in front of a running engine in a low-temperature wind tunnel. Instead of ice forming on the engine, they got mid-air snow, as the water cooled and froze into the characteristic hexagonal crystals that grow into snowflakes. At that time their ‘invention’ was more of an annoyance than anything else, as the snow quickly collected on the ground and had to be shovelled out of the tunnel. They published their findings but didn’t try to commercialise them.

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The first patented snowmaking machine came later, during a slump in sales at a US ski manufacturing company in the early 1950s. Engineers at the Connecticut-based Tey Manufacturing Company came up with the idea of blowing water droplets through freezing air. Their first crude device was cobbled together using a paint spray compressor, a nozzle and a garden hose.Over the following years, snow cannons based on the same principle have caught on at ski resorts and indoor snow domes – today’s versions incorporate heavy-duty air compressors and water pumps, as snowmaking requires huge amounts of water (it takes about a tonne of water to make a 10cm-deep layer of snow over a 20m2 area). snow-machineAway from the slopes, you may want to create the appearance of snow without any of the cold. In this case, a fairly decent decorative mimic can be crafted from white, fluffy-looking hydrated superabsorbent polymers.788This kind of ‘snow’ is often used on film sets, as frozen water would quickly melt under hot studio lights. It may also pop up in festive – but cosy – Santa’s grottos, and you can even buy it in packets for home decoration.In the long history in which humans have been getting caught in snowstorms, the way we have reacted to snow and interpreted it. For the Impressionists and the Japanese ukiyo-e artists, it was a force for beauty and contemplation. For the inhabitants of the Alps in the middle ages and after, it was associated with evil and witchcraft. fffEach society has interpreted the unusual and often spectacular event of a snowfall in a different way. Snow, that falls on a full moon is purified water and protective properties. Now, scientists seem to discover that snow is efficient at removing aerosol particles from the air. Perhaps the best way to track the cultural significance of snow is through art.zima-obrazy Until the 16th century, artists showed little interest except where it had a religious context. Then came the shocking winter of 1564-5, the longest and most severe for more than a hundred years, and the first great winter of the intensely cold period in northern Europe that we now call the Little Ice Age.7f1384201c18a83b579531c3653b6ee1It was early in this exceptional winter of 1565 that Pieter Bruegel the Elder created what is regarded as the first winter landscape painting, The Hunters in the Snow. What did he see in this, the earliest detailed account of people’s reaction to snow? Like a snapshot, Bruegel captures the bustle of a Brabant village during his time. Each character is depicted in action. Children play with spinning tops or slide on the frozen water, while a couple advances cautiously on the ice.7Further afield, carts are being loaded with sacks of grain and people warm themselves by the fire. 5Here, chickens peck and birds soar while the donkey obediently follows his master.8Once Bruegel had found snow as a subject, he couldn’t stop 🙂472aadorationAmong a number of paintings of ice and snow that survive, he created the first scene with falling snow and the first nativity scene to include snow, The Adoration of the Magi.bruegel120He also started a vogue for Netherlandish snow painting that endured for a century and a half.

January, the month of the new beginning the month. This is a month of dream

When snow comes it’s a winter’s day. Can you make a pot of some soup for supper?

Can you make a pot of some soup for supper?

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I relish this joyful simplicity, during my holiday. Chopping colours of vegetable enjoy life and new beginning.  We must learn the new value of life and become a specialist in living. Are you ready to become a pioneer?  Then it’s time to invest your soul with all the creative energy at your disposal.

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…. with snow is so much fun!

Happy Rooster Year!

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Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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There are just 2 days until Christmas and it feels like the festive season is at its´ highest peak.  This time of year everything becomes a chance to be Christmases.  The radio stations play Christmas songs, you bake Christmas cookies, you wear Christmas pyjamas and Christmas socks, and you watch Christmas classics. I’m also in full holiday spirit and become Santa’s “ Elf🙂 “- “ I am Elf ……..on the shelf”.

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Around festive season many people have their own festive traditions, often built over many years and passed down from one generation to the next. Christmas trees, fairy lights and more recently the Christmas elf tradition and whatever your practice and tradition is, please remember, spread holiday cheer and have a Happy New Year!

Ella

 

Letter B…… be better (part 2)

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The second letter B. I have always thought that second is a really great. When  you are runner coming second proves to the world that you can do it to a high level but it doesn’t single you out. Nobody is going to hate you for coming second. Nobody is going to knock themselves out to topple you from second place. Today, I am happy to share my stops on the second letter B.dsc02811Pablo Picasso once said ” If only we could  pull out our brain and use only our eyes” we would be amazed at the world around us. In the way, not all of us seen all Rome details it is time, yes to see takes time. We haven’t the time, some of  us have been given a gift the ability to see -but we don’t take  the time to do more than glance around. For the one, the marvellous lesson I learn on in Rome is that when your heart and eyes are open to see, you’re able to recognise all details, no matter how short is your day.

First my stop on Rome white marble.

Nowadays marble is a common construction and ornamental material like in Rome.

 

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Marble is often perceived as a being a cold and aseptic material to use tends to be confined to environment functions connected with these properties. This is particularly true. When you touch a marble object, it will remove heat from your hand.  Why? The marble can absorb heat up to almost 10 times quicker than wood, and it feels cold under your bare hand or feet because it is quickly absorbing the heat from your body and this also means that it can cool down quicker as well what is very helpful in Italy during the hottest months. Its earliest times Romans initially relied on the marbles used by the Greeks, but they found in the mountains near the town of Luni (which gave the stone the name of Lunense Marmor) which is today Carrara.

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The news on the first extraction of marble from Carrara in the area date back to the first century.dsc03137BC during the Roman domination, particularly during the Imperial age, marble was the noble materials par excellence in architecture and the sculpture arts. It was the white marble of Carrara that converted Rome from a city of brick huts to one of marble palaces. Written records dated to 177 BC describe Romans who were sent to the colony of Luni with a full complement of slaves to extract the marble and ship it back to Rome for use in palaces and monuments – all engraved with A.U.PH. (ad usum phori – for use in the Forums) to avoid taxes. It was the white marble of Carrara that converted Rome from a city of brick huts to one of marble palaces. The emperor Augustus started the quarrying in the first century BCE, because he wanted that the Patrician villas and public monuments – including a part of the Parthenon in Rome – be covered in what was considered at the time the whitest marble; in some of the quarries the signs of the extraction by slaves are still visible.

Now is the time to science understanding of the term marble that is that of a rock whose structure is based on calcium carbonate and that has undergone metamorphism of varying degree; the definition is also extended to include rocks containing a mixture of calcium and magnesium carbonate (dolomite marbles) alone or together with simple calcium carbonate(calcite). I was lucky enough to seen in Rome a few of the famous buildings and statues built of Carrara marble.dsc02428Piramide di Caio Cestio was the first Roman monument covered with Lunense marble (Carrara Marble).2This etching which Giuseppe Vasi included in his 1747 first book of views of ancient and modern Rome is indicative of the dual “market” he was targeting. The ancient gate and even more the pyramid were subjects which appealed to travellers who visited Rome to admire Piramide di Caio Cestio.s0197086Another example is the Column of Trajan.  The column itself is made from fine-grained Luna marble and stands to a height of 38.4 meters (c. 98 feet) atop a tall pedestal. The shaft of the column is composed of 29 drums of marble measuring c. 3.7 meters (11 feet) in diameter, weighing a total of c. 1,110 tons. The topmost drum weighs some 53 tons. A spiral staircase of 185 steps leads to the viewing platform atop the column. The helical sculptural frieze measures 190 meters in length (c. 625 feet) and wraps around the column 23 times. A total of 2,662 figures appear in the 155 scenes of the frieze, with Trajan himself featured in 58 scenes.The construction of the Column of Trajan was a complex exercise of architectural design and engineering. Materials had to be acquired and transported to Rome, some across long distances.column-2The iconography scheme of the column illustrates Trajan’s wars in Dacia. The lower half of the column corresponds to the first Dacian War (c. 101-102 C.E.), while the top half depicts the second Dacian War (c. 105-106 C.E.). The first narrative event shows Roman soldiers marching off to Dacia, while the final sequence of events portrays the suicide of the enemy leader, Decebalus, and the mopping up of Dacian prisoners by the Romans. Carved into the structure are 2,662 figures in 155 scenes. Trajan appears in 58 of them.column-4Viewers were meant to follow the story from bottom to top standing in one place rather than circling the column 23 times, as the frieze does. This triumphal column inspired by that of Trajan were also created in honour of more recent victories.

The column honouring Admiral Horatio Nelson in London’s Trafalgar Square (c. 1843) draws on the Roman tradition that included the Column of Trajan along with earlier, Republican monuments like the columna rostrata of Caius Duilius. The column dedicated to Napoleon I erected in the Place Vendôme in Paris (c. 1810) and the Washington Monument of Baltimore, Maryland (1829) both were directly inspired by the Column of Trajan.

Marble ‘the wedding cake’ stop and Vittoriano

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The Vittoriano is the huge white monument which mars most panoramic views of Rome. Romans don’t really much admire the Vittoriano; they refer to it as ‘the wedding cake’.dsc00212It was built between 1885 and 1911 to celebrate the uniting of Italy as a nation, and dedicated to the first King of all Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II. Of course, the monarchy only lasted another thirty years after the completion of the Vittoriano, and most Italians would still scoff at the idea of unity, but the monument remains and is still important for those Italians with thoughts of nationhood. Guarded by soldiers, a flame burns on the front terrace of the monument to mark the grave of an unknown soldier; this is the Altar of the Fatherland, the Altare della Patria. However, the tourists from other parts of Italy make a beeline for the Vittoriano, but it is worth visiting even if you feel no such patriotic awe or affection. From the upper levels there are great views over Rome, and in 2007 a glass lift (elevator) was installed to take paying visitors up to the very top of the monument, on the roof between the two crowning statuary groups. It’s a good place to begin your sightseeing in Rome, since it gives you an unmatchable overview of the city, the city I fell in love.

Stop with Bernini

Wow, my Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Apollo and Daphne 1622-25 and Carrara marble. This sculpture stood out more to me than the others because of the expression and drama it shows, very captivating and beautiful. The way their body is positioned, reminds me of wind and water in a physical form, free flowing with intense emotions.dsc02660The story behind the sculpture starts off about Eros (Cupid) who had two arrows, one of gold to incite love and one of lead to incite hate, Eros shoots the gold arrow to Apollo and shoots the lead arrow to Daphne long story short , Apollo falls in love with Daphne and she runs away from him while calling to her father Peneus (river god) to change her form and she turns into a bay laurel tree , yet Apollo still loving her , he vowed to tend to her as his tree and makes her leaves to be decorated on heads of leaders as crowns. This beautiful piece of sculpture will always be breath taking and with the story it goes hand in hand which makes it more beautiful.

In contrast to Bernini stop with marble busts of distinguished Ancient Romans in the Vatican Museum, the Romans preferred a realistic portrayal of the human form.

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The Romans learned everything they knew about stonework and about carving statues from the Greeks and the main difference was that the Romans used the hand drill more and they had more realism in the art.

 

Stop I am on my knees

dsc01304I just love the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and their harmony. It’s not all about size and it’s also not about splendour and riches. But it’s about the symbolism, the composition of elements, and the atmosphere that you can grasp once inside that makes St Peter’s Basilica.The statues, dozens of them, standing tall in niches high above the stream of visitors. Saints and founders of orders, popes and virtues, carved in white stone and simply stunning in their lifelike appearance. St Peter’s is known for a number of masterpieces by some of the best artists in the world, most notably the Pietà by Michelangelo.dsc01317Michelangelo claimed that the block of Carrara marble he used to work on this was the most “perfect” block he ever used, and he would go on to polish and refine this work more than any other statue he created. The scene of the Pieta shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross, but before he was placed in the tomb.  This is one of the key events from the life of the Virgin, known as the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which were the subject of Catholic devotional prayers.  The subject matter was one which would have probably been known by many people, but in the late fifteenth century it was depicted in artworks more commonly in France and Germany than in Italy. This was a special work of art even in the Renaissance because at the time, multi-figured sculptures were rare.  These two figures are carved so as to appear in a unified composition which forms the shape of a pyramid, something that other Renaissance artists (e.g. Leonardo) also favoured. The restored Michelangelo's Pieta is seen in this undated photo released by Musei Vaticani at the Vatican

When The Virgin Mary holding Christ in Michelangelo’s Pieta Around the time the work was finished, there was a complaint against Michelangelo because of the way he depicted the Virgin.  She appears rather young – so young, in fact, that she could scarcely be the mother of a thirty-three-year-old son.  Michelangelo’s answer to this criticism was simply that women who are chaste retain their beauty longer, which meant that the Virgin would not have aged like other women usually do. Another noteworthy incident after the carving was complete involves the inscription on the diagonal band running over the Virgin’s torso. Vasari tells us about the reason for this inscription in one of his passages about the life of Michelangelo: “Here is perfect sweetness in the expression of the head, harmony in the joints and attachments of the arms, legs, and trunk, and the pulses and veins so wrought, that in truth Wonder herself must marvel that the hand of a craftsman should have been able to execute so divinely and so perfectly, in so short a time, a work so admirable; and it is certainly a miracle that a stone without any shape at the beginning should ever have been reduced to such perfection as Nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh. Such were Michelagnolo’s love and zeal together in this work, that he left his name a thing that he never did again in any other work written across a girdle that encircles the bosom of Our Lady. And the reason was that one day Michelagnolo, entering the place where it was set up, found there a great number of strangers from Lombardy, who were praising it highly, and one of them asked one of the others who had done it, and he answered, “Our Gobbo from Milan.” Michelagnolo stood silent, but thought it something strange that his labours should be attributed to another; and one night he shut himself in there, and, having brought a little light and his chisels, carved his name upon it.” (Vasari’s Lives of the Artists) A detail of the restored Michelangelo's Pieta is seen in this undated photo released by Musei Vaticani at the Vatican

This is the only work of Michelangelo to which he signed his name.

Not many of us remember May 1972, on May 21 1972, when the Hungarian-born geologist Laszlo Toth damaged the Pieta with a hammer. It was on a Sunday at the high moment of the mess he set upon the Pity of Michelangelo and with a hammer broke the mouth, the eyes and the arm. He said that he broke the eyes because it was a pity that could not see, the mouth because it could not speak and the arm because it did not act.

He was never charged with a criminal offence. On 29 January of the following year he was declared by a Rome court to be a socially dangerous person and was ordered confined to a mental hospital for at least two years. On 9 February 1975, the Hungarian-born, Australian geologist was released from the hospital and deported from Italy as an undesirable alien. He was sent back to Australia, where he was not detained by the authorities. The penalty for damaging the Pity was three months, foreigners who were guilty of a crime with a penalty less than four moths should been put out of the country (law of the 1972).

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At that time, he put three advertisements in the Roman daily papers, in one of them he put also his photo. The text of his ads was…”My name is Lazlo Toth, I am a geologist and have been working in the Australian desert where I came in contact with beings from other space dimension. The beings from the sky told me the content of Fatima’s secrets and told me to go to Rome and tell the Pope that the church had to open the contents of those secrets to the people of the world. But the Pope did not want speak to him. Lazlo invited whoever wanted to know those secrets to go to him. But very probably nobody was curious enough. The 2000 people who were in the church to purify their souls jumped on him and wanted to kill him – right there inside God’s temple – but the police managed to save him from the mob. What happened to Lazlo after the electroshocks? He is disappeared. Is he living as a zombie in Australia? Is he dead? Who knows… with such a story everything may be possible. He had a wife and two or more children, everything I have been writing about Lazlo Toth can to be found in the Italian/Roman newspapers of the time. He is about 70-72 now and has four children and nine grandchildren. He never speaks to the neighbours and virtually had no social life ever since he settled there in late 70’s.

Stop on coloured marbles

 

Marble is a fascinating material that has been put to many uses in the ancient world; from masonry to art it has been highly utilized. Most of use only think of the plain white marble used in ancient art, but think about how it was truly meant to be seen, full of bright colours and in all of its glory. Modern transportation has begun to permanently damage some of the finest examples of ancient art, but perhaps with awareness some of this art can be further preserved throughout time so that maybe 2,000 years from now it will still be around for mankind to marvel at. img_0608Verde (Giallo/Bigio) Antico (ancient (yellow/grey) green) is the generic term used in the XVIIth century to indicate the coloured marbles recovered from the ancient buildings and mainly used in the decoration of chapels. The grand Roman Pantheon has been keeping a secret of the coloured marbles. dsc00813-jpg-1Pantheon means “all of the gods” and the building’s roof represented the dome of the sky, where Romans believed the gods resided. The imposing temple in Rome, completed in AD 128, is one of the most impressive buildings that survives from antiquity. It consists of a cylindrical chamber topped by a domed roof with an oculus in the top which lets through a dramatic shaft of sunlight. It boasts a colonnaded courtyard at the front. The Pantheon may have been more than just a temple. During the six months of winter, the light of the noon sun traces a path across the inside of the domed roof. During summer, with the sun higher in the sky, the shaft shines onto the lower walls and floor. At the two equinoxes, in March and September, the sunlight coming in through the hole strikes the junction between the roof and wall, above the Pantheon’s grand northern doorway. A grille above the door allows a sliver of light through to the front courtyard – the only moment in the year that it sees sunlight if its main doors are closed. dsc00833-1The architect of the Pantheon would certainly have been aware of the symbolic connections between the cosmos and the empire, and between the sun and the emperor.  While the massive structure may impress you from the outside, it is the interior that will leave you breathless. The walls are covered in various shades of coloured marble, and when you tilt your head you will find the concrete dome decorated with coffered squares. In the centre is an open oculus (a large circular hole, in this case nearly 9 meter in diameter). The oculus acts as the only source of natural light and is never covered. After rain, any water which entered through the oculus is removed by sporadically placed drains in the floor. Yes, the rain is the one of the most damaging weathering effects on marble has only come along with this modern era is acid rain. Acid rain is the infamous result of modern transportation and can cause the darkening of marble that is outdoors.  Acid rain is formed when water absorbs one of two types of sulphurous compounds, SO2 or SO3, these two chemicals result from the burning of gasoline. Clouds contaminated with these compounds can rain down on the surface of marble sculptures and a chemical reaction can ensue. This reaction actually eats away some of the marble and permanently destroying the marble surface.

Faux painting (faux finishing) stop

Romans used decorative painting as a tool to boast their ego. Walls of wealthy Romans were decorated with the house owners’ portraits. This was the time when mural painting saw its first great development. All this came to an end, with the fall of Roman Empire. The Roman middle class started disappearing, and so did the art of decorative painting. In the second half of the XVIIIth century and chiefly in the XIXth century the lack of resources put a severe limit to the use of marble. So in some churches the initial impression of a lavish decoration turns out to be wrong when one gets closer to it.

Column in Temple of Romulus made  my stop on porphyry stone

Porphyry is a hard igneous rock of which the most famous type is deep red. And has been known and used since ancient times.  Because of its similarity to purple in Roman times the red porphyry, so called for its purple-red colour (in Latin “porphyra”). The Romans exploited intensely the quarries, using thousands of workers: the large number of works extended all over the Empire. This stone has always had a great symbolic value: the emperors, personifying divinity, lived surrounded by porphyry, they were born in rooms cladded with porphyry (which existed only in the palaces of power) and many Roman emperors were even buried in sarcophagi of porphyry.

 Stop on Basalt

Basalt is a dark and hard igneous rock used for sculpture by the ancient Egyptians. In Rome basalt is limited to Egyptian statues. A basaltic lava was used by the Romans for paving their roads.

Stop on blue

Lapis lazuli ciborium in S. Caterina da Siena a Magnanapoli and lapis lazuli columns in il Gesù. 7f1760494a380ba9c4728881759b9682

Lapis lazuli is a semi-precious blue silicate, most often used in association with gold in small objects. Because of its scarceness the lapis lazuli coated columns of the altar-tomb of St. Ignatius in il Gesù, were considered the unsurpassed limit of luxury and sumptuousness.

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Lapis Lazuli is not a single mineral. It is a combination of lazurite, calcite, and pyrite, with small amounts of other minerals.  Contrary to common belief, it does not contain lazulite. Lapis Lazuli literally means “blue stone” from Latin and Persian or Arabic. Lapis Howlite or blue howlite may look like Lapis Lazuli at a glance, but are not the same stone. Denim Lapis is a lighter Lapis Lazuli with more white from calcite. Lapis Lazuli is traditionally a stone of royalty. When ever I think of it, the Lapiz Lazuli around the eyes of King Tut’s mask comes to mind. Truly royal! Lapis Lazuli is said to help create and maintain a connection between the physical and celestial planes, creating a strong spiritual connection. This may be related to its property of assisting in contact with guardian spirits. Intuitive and psychic awareness are energies Lapis Lazuli enhances and brings to the fore.

As it is also a stone that helps with writing, it can also be used for automatic writing. It is a stone of communication that can bring truthfulness, openness, and mental clarity. It is used to help you say just the right thing, as if by magic.

 

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Now, really look around at your world,

your family, your home, your friends,

&

the strangers on the street.

Smile at everyone you meet because you can see them.

Never forget that the gift of vision is so important.

Ella