Italy

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Art History

A 21 Foot-Long Painting of The Last Supper by 16th Century Nun and Artist Plautilla Nelli Has Just Been Painstakingly Restored

October 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In the 1500’s self-taught artist and nun Plautilla Nelli created a life-size mural of Jesus and the twelve apostles at the Last Supper. Spanning 21 feet feet, the vibrantly colored painting includes carefully rendered details including wine chalices, salt cellars, wood panelling, and a rhythmically creased tablecloth. In addition to the inanimate objects depicted, Nelli demonstrated impressive facility with human anatomy in her renderings of the religious figures—at the time, women were barred from studying the field of anatomy.

Nelli’s masterpiece stayed for two centuries at her convent, Santa Caterina, and then changed locations a few times before being unstretched, rolled, and put in storage about a hundred years ago. After an initial restoration and then additional damage due to flooding in the 1960’s, The Last Supper has been undergoing restoration for the past four years. Brought back to life by an all-female team of curators, restorers, and scientists at Advancing Women Artists, it is now on permanent display at the Santa Maria Novella Museum in Florence, Italy. (via artnet, Smithsonian Magazine)

 

 



Photography

The Abandoned Grandeur of Crumbling Palaces Showcased in Large Format Photographs by Thomas Jorion

February 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Thomas Jorion, "Pappagallo, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Thomas Jorion, “Pappagallo, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Whereas many photographers seek to capture beautiful ephemeral moments with their camera lens, French photographer Thomas Jorion is drawn to a more eternal timeline. Using an analog 4×5 camera, Jorion focuses on abandoned places: spaces and structures lost to the nature and time. In his photographs, once majestic buildings that are now largely forgotten are given the same careful composition and attention that more currently-engaged spaces might receive. His solo exhibition Veduta at Esther Woerdehoff Galerie in Paris explores the abandoned villas and palaces of Italy through April 6, 2019. You can see more of Jorion’s work on Instagram.

"Cedri, Italie" (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Cedri, Italie” (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Fondali, Italie" (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Fondali, Italie” (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Ghepardi, Italie" (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Ghepardi, Italie” (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Sognare, Switzerland" (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Sognare, Switzerland” (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Fulmine, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

“Fulmine, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie 

"Pensile, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

“Pensile, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

 

 



Photography

A New Infrared View of the Dolomites by Paolo Pettigiani Shows Craggy Landscapes in Cotton Candy Colors

March 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

26-year old photographer Paolo Pettigiani (previously) has been taking pictures since age 11, and in the last few years has produced several series of eye-popping infrared images. Pettigiani’s most recent work showcases the Dolomites, a craggy mountain range in the northeastern region of his native Italy.

Infrared photography uses a special film or light sensor that processes the usually not-visible wavelengths of infrared light (specifically near-infrared, as opposed to far-infrared, which is used in thermal imaging.) The resulting images from Pettigiani depict the stands of coniferous trees as watermelon-pink, while surfaces that don’t reflect IR light stay more true to their nature hues. You can see more of the artist’s photographs on his website, as well as on Behance and Instagram. Pettigiani also offers prints of his work via Lumas.

 

 



Amazing Photography

Otherworldly ‘Earth Pyramids’ Captured in the Foggy Early Morning Light by Photographer Kilian Schönberger

September 27, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) climbed the Alps late at night to capture one of the mountain range’s strangest segments, alien-like columns found in South Tyrol, an autonomous province in Northern Italy. His series Otherworld showcases the so-called “earth pyramids” in a hazy dawn light, strange creations that appear like stalagmites freed from their underground caves.

The structures are created by erosion, rising from clay soil left behind by glaciers from the last Ice Age. Each features a large boulder resting on top which protects the soil below. Eventually the tall columns lose the strength to hold the large rock overhead, shifting balance and sending it tumbling down the mountain.

The otherworldly elements remind Schönberger of the hoodos in the Southwestern United States, however the two naturally occurring wonders are formed from two very different geological processes. You can see more of German landscape photographer’s work on his Instagram and Behance  

 

 



Art

Towering Murals by Blu on the Streets of Italy Confront Environmental and Societal Woes

May 29, 2017

Christopher Jobson

La Cuccanga, 2017

From climate change to capitalism run amok, street artist Blu (previously) pulls no punches in his soaring multi-story murals on the streets of Italy. While mixed with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor, the inspiration behind each artwork is anything but funny as he translates searing critiques into aesthetically beautiful paintings. For instance a 2016 piece criticizing housing problems in the Celadina district of Bergamo, Italy depicts cramped residents as a brightly hued rainbow but leaves a small group of authorities in the lower right completely devoid of color. Collected here is a selection of murals from the last year, you can see more detailed shots by flipping through his blog. You can also get an idea of how he works—perched on a tiny suspended seat—in this short GIF.

Porto Torres, 2016

Celadina, 2016

Catina, 2016

Alta Voracita, 2016

 

 



Art Photography

New Classical Paintings Reimagined as Part of Modern-Day Italian Life by Alexey Kondakov

January 30, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

For his latest works in the ongoing series Art History in Contemporary Life, Ukrainian artist and designer Alexey Kondakov (previously here and here) has staged classical paintings in scenes from modern day Naples, Italy. The figures effortless merge with their present day surroundings, two women looking perfectly bored flipping through comic books in the back of a dusty book store, while a different woman takes a nap beside a latte and half-eaten sandwich. You can view more of his digitally altered scenes on his Instagram and Facebook page. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Amazing Design

A Glimpse Inside a Handmade Amusement Park, 40 Years in the Making

June 22, 2016

Christopher Jobson

In the early 1970s a man named Bruno (previously) started building simple rides in a forested area in northern Italy near his family’s restaurant in an attempt to attract customers. Osteria ai Pioppi is now a sprawling complex of nearly 50 rides powered completely by hand with pulleys, bicycle cranks, and gravity, and is now a major destination for locals and tourists to Battaglia. Talk about a novel approach to advertising. Bruno refers to the theme park as an “ecological park” and says he’s often inspired by movements or patterns found in nature which he tries to replicate in his wildly varied rides. This new video from Great Big Story gives us a quick glimpse of the many rides Bruno has built from hand over the last 40 years.

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