Tuesday, 31 December 2013

prosaic 5 - lost glove, St Ives, Cornwall

this picture was to have been one in my 'lost' series (you don't think i just do rust, do you? huh!) but about 9 out of every 11 items are lost gloves and even i find that tedious (especially as none of them match)

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Venice, window grilles - 21 (and last in the series - sighs of relief all around)

and actually one of my favourites of the whole window grille series - marred only by that bright red thing inside (which is no longer there, thanks to David - see comments below)

photograph of a robin i took earlier this year at Kew gardens

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Venice, window grille - 20 (a Christmas day special)

wishing you a happy Christmas
the Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration) is a painting believed to date from 1609, by Caravaggio.
it was stolen on October 18, 1969 from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily.
the local Sicilian Mafia are generally considered to be the prime culprits in the theft although nobody actually knows who committed the crime. the whereabouts of the work remain unknown to this day. rumours of its destruction during the theft or subsequently in a 1980 earthquake have circulated from time to time as has the notion that the masterpiece is now hidden abroad. in 1996, Francesco Marino Mannoia, an informant and former member of the Sicilian Mafia, claimed he had stolen the painting as a young man on the orders of a high-ranking mobster, but other sources say it was stolen by amateurs and then sold on to various Mafiosi; at one point it is said to have ended up in the hands of Rosario Riccobono, who was killed in 1982, after which it passed on to Gerlando Alberti. in 2009 Gaspare Spatuzza, a former Mafia figure turned police informer, claimed that he was told in 1999 that the painting was stolen for a private collector but had been destroyed by rats and pigs while hidden in a farm outbuilding and the remains burned

the painting is one of the most famous unrecovered stolen works of art; its theft is on the FBI's top ten list of art crimes. The value, if the work was ever sold, is estimated to be $20 million

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

pattress plates - 6


wishing you a happy Saturnalia

   temple of Saturn, Rome - ruins of the temple stand at the foot of the capitoline hill in the western end of the forum Romanum

Io, Saturnalia!
Saturnalia was the best part of the Roman year - the poet Catullus describes Saturnalia as the best of days - it was a time of celebration, visits to friends, and gift-giving, particularly of wax candles, and earthenware figurines. the best part of the Saturnalia (for slaves) was the temporary reversal of roles - masters served meals to their slaves who were permitted the unaccustomed luxuries of leisure and gambling; clothing was relaxed and included the peaked woollen cap that symbolized the freed slave, which looks an awful lot like Santa Claus's red hat . a member of the family and slaves was appointed Saturnalicius princeps, roughly, Lord of Misrule.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

sculpture (artist/title unknown) San Quirico d'orcia, Italy

San Quirico ios notable for its collegiate church which was once a rural pieve from the 8th century, it was rebuilt into the current structure in the 12th century. it is built on the Latin cross plan, with a single nave and side chapels.
notable is the main portal, in Lombard style, consisting in a decorated protiro in sandstone, with columns supported by lions,the arch includes ten columns, whose capitals are decorated with animals and vegetable figures, while the architrave features two crocodiles facing each other. the lunette has a high-relief sculpture allegedly portraying St. Damasus, though likely to be identified with St. Quiricus. a side portal, added in the 13th century, has been attributed to Giovanni Pisano, who was in Siena at the time

Friday, 6 December 2013

sculpture (title/artist unknown) Prato, Italy

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
Nelson Mandela