¡Hola de Valencia! First drawing from Palau de la Musica | music drawings

We are back in our favorite winter quarters, where the sky is always blue and the winter temperatures moderate, the street life vibrant, the food fresh and varied, and the people warm and friendly.  It’s a place that brings smiles to our face the moment we look out the window or go out the door.

bar plaza sant jaume

Bar Sant Jaume (Saint James), pen and ink

The flight from Rome is normally quite beautiful.  You might get a view of the Coliseo.  You fly over Sardinia and then get a lovely view of Valencia.  Not this flight.  Weather has hit the entire Iberian Peninsula, and even Valencia is effected.  Light rain greets us but still we shed the jackets and sweaters we were wearing to get to the airport in Rome.

We are staying in a new ‘piso.’  This one is near Plaza de Toros, much larger than our previous place, more expensive too, but better for the painter in the household.  We will miss our view:

 

View from Our Place in Plaza Cisneros pen ink

View from our old place in Plaza Cisneros pen and ink

We go to the Palau de la Musica here most Sundays to listen to the symphonic bands, of which there are many in the province.  The first Sunday we heard the Banda Municipal.  I often do small pen and ink drawings as I listen.  Here’s the flautist playing a piece by one of local composers:

 

Flautist Palau de la Musica

Flautist Palau de la Musica 2″ x 4″

 

Arrivederci Roma: The Marcus Aurelius

October 31, 2015

It’s our last day in Rome and I spent the morning drawing the statue of Marcus Aurelius in il Museo Capitoline.  This has to be one of the most impressive pieces of art around, for its magnificence, proportions, gilded in bronze and dating from around 180 CE.  It’s astounding and a privilege to sit before it.  It is in its new setting in a special room at the museum.

 

Marcus Aurrelius closeup

Marcus Aurrelius closeup

 

Marcus Aurrelius

Marcus Aurrelius

Just around the corner there is this Etruscan piece from 700-600 BCE

Jpeg

Reclining figure

This one is terrific but pales in comparison to the Sarcophagus of the Spouses in the Etruscan Museum here- called Villa Giulia.  Circa 520 BCE.  Terracotta.

 

Sarcophagus of the Spouses

Sarcophagus of the Spouses

Museo Nazional de Arte Clasica Romana (Roman Art) has some mighty fine statues

 

Amazing Ivory image in black case

Amazing Ivory image in black case

 

The Museo Nazional de Arte Clasica Romana is across the street from Termini.  It houses a fine collection of Roman era sculptures on the first two floors, very professionally exhibited with excellent English translations.  The top floor houses wall paintings from Roman era villas, many of which are in amazing condition.  There are also some excellent examples of mosaic art.  Here are some examples.

 

 

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Museo delle Mura (Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate

The Museo delle Mura (Museum of the Walls),  is at St Stephens Gate, at the entry to Appia Antica, the Appian Way as it is known in English.  It wasn’t open when we were here last and in 2000 I do not think it even existed.  It is small but the small albeit older style exhibits tell you about the history of the Roman walls and their many alterations and reconstructions.  And the views are great!

Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate View of both gates

Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate View of both gates

View of Appia Antica are from St Stephens Gate

View of Appia Antica are from St Stephens Gate

Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate

Museum of the Walls, Rome at St Stephens Gate

St Stephens Gate

St Stephens Gate

Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate View of both gates

Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate View of both gates

St Stephens Gate

St Stephens Gate

 

 

Museum of the Walls), Rome at St Stephens Gate

Museum of the Walls, Rome at St Stephens Gate

You can walk along the top of the walls, as you can see from here.

Barberini Palace, Caravaggio, Raphaello, chiaroscuro cieling

October 21, 2015

The Barberini Palace, just up the hill from Bernini’s Tritone Fountain, is an immense mansion and the home of the Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, art from about the 15th c -17th century.  Here is Caravaggio’s Narisco- Narcissus. Get a load of the reflection!

Narciso by Carravagio

Narciso by Carravagio

In the galleries I try to find something I can draw. I try to find something that is interesting and doable in 5-10 minutes and where there is a seat, good lighting, things like that. Sketch of Gerrit van Bronckhorst’s Betsaben al Bagno. I’d never heard of this painter. Seems to have been influenced by Caravaggio, given how he treats the light here.

Gerrit van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno in Galeria Nazionale d'Arte Antica Rome

Gerrit van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno in Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Antica Rome

Sketch of van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno

Sketch of van Bronckhorst Betsaben al Bagno

Back to Caravaggio, here’s another masterpiece hanging in room 20 (in my best Spanish accent, I asked where this room was in Italian and got a reply in Spanish!).  It’s so gruesome I nearly walked out of the room!

 

Caravaggio's Judith and Holofernes

Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes

Salvator Rosa’s “La Poesia” and “La Musica” (17th century) are superb.

Salvator Rosa - La Poesia3 Salvator Rosa - La Musica

 

And a rarity for the time, a woman painter, and quite a good one!  Portrait of a Young Woman Dressed as a Bacchante

'Portrait of a Young Woman dressed as a Bacchante, by Angelica Kauffmann, Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy.

‘Portrait of a Young Woman Dressed as a Bacchante, Angelica Kauffmann,

 

 

Here’s yet another prize- what the Galleria notes as the first female nude:

Pierre Subleyras

Pierre Subleyras

 

Jacopo Zucchi “Ritratto di Ciela Farnese”

Jacopo Zucchi 'Ritratto di Ciela Farnese

Jacopo Zucchi ‘Ritratto di Ciela Farnese

 

As for the building, it is a divine palace built by the Barberini family, whose symbol, three bees, appears throughout.  It is in wonderful shape.  The most magnificent room is on the second floor, immense and nearly empty except for several small sofas in the middle.  People lay on them and look at the ceiling, some 20 meters/60 feet above.  Here’s why:

Pietro da Cortona Triumph of Divine Providence.

Pietro da Cortona Triumph of Divine Providence.

 

You have to go there to appreciate all of these, especially this ceiling though.

All this for 7 euros.

Hagia Sophia (circa 550), one of the world’s greatest buildings

September 20 2015  Istanbul

Hagia Sophia miniature (4" x 6") acrylics on postcard stock

Hagia Sophia miniature (4″ x 6″) acrylics on postcard stock

 

The Hagia (Holy) Sophia (Wisdom) is a stunning domed building built as a Greek Orthodox cathedral in 537 when Istanbul, then called Constantinople,  was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire(also known as the Byzantine Empire).  Between 1204 and 1261 it was a Roman Catholic cathedral.   Following the conquering of the Empire by the Ottomans in 1453, the Hagia Sofia became a mosque.  In 1931 it was closed and then converted into a museum, which it is still.  The minarets and round domes give it an Islamic setting, and some of the interior maintains that influence as well.  Nonetheless it is an impressive structure, notably the dome, and for 1000 years it was the largest cathedral in the world, replaced in 1520 by the Cathedral in Seville.

Here are some stock photos of the interior.  It is way too dark and large for me to get good photos.   These are mosaics!
Mosaic from Hagia Sophia

Mosaic from Hagia Sophia

 

220px-Empress_Zoe_mosaic_Hagia_Sophia

220px-Hagia_Sophia_Imperial_Gate_mosaic_2

hagia sophia interior 1

 

hagia sophia interior 2

 

Istanbul Modern is another pleasant surprise

The Istanbul Modern is another pleasant surprise in a city full of them.  The artists on exhibit when I visited yesterday were mostly Turkish, some trained here and others in the US and I think one or two in Germany.  Most of the work is representational but very creative in a modernist sort of way, as you can from the photos I’ve placed below.

The installations made sense-  how unusual- and were interesting as well- also unusual. One was a young man playing make-shift drums, another various people lip synching Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’   Behind thick sets of hanging strands of fabric hangs a geographical globe with stars and planets on the walls, while in another section is a political globe.    In a third room a face of a woman is projected onto a mannequin.  She is singing.
Not so pleasant is the getting there.  There are large signs and even an arrow pointing tot the enntrance.  The large signs do not point anywhere except for the one with the arrow, which points down a lonely, shabby alley.  I walked past it thinking this could not be.  But it was.
The location challenge came after I ran across an angry confrontation a few hundred meters from the entrance.  There was angry shouting and a man banging hard on the hood of a van.  There was pushing and shoving.  The police arrived.  I heard four bangs, someone with a notepad came running toward me.  I then turned around and scooted back a hundred meters, and crossed the street.  A security guard told me it was not gun shots, just more banging on the van I suppose, so I went on.  Traffic had piled up between me and the scene so I felt reasonably safe.
Here are some of the pieces I found interesting.  The first is fabric sewed onto canvas, probably my favorite, which given I am not a fabric art fan in general, is a strong endorsement:
Istanbul Modern fabric

Istanbul Modern fabric

Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern

IMG_9333IMG_9334

Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern

 

 

Ferry up the Bosphorous

September 18, 2015

We took the ferry north on the Bosphorous today.  The busy waterway connecting the Mediteranean with the Black Sea is lined with many palaces and houses.  The constant breeze you get on shore is amplified as we head into it, keeping the boat cool in the warm sun.
ferry u3 ferryup4 ferry up1 ferry up2

Women waiting for bus

Women waiting for bus

Woman near us at restaurant

Woman near us at restaurant

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbil

September 22, 2015

The Grand Bazaar,  also called  ‘Covered Bazaar’ in Turkish is one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets in the world.  There are 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops.  About 90 million enter the halls every year, the world’s most visited place  (http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/worlds-most-visited-tourist-attractions/2)

Peg and Susan at the Grand Baazar

Peg and Susan at the Grand Baazar

We came on a slow day, fortunately.  The place is overwhelming just in terms of the sheer number of shops.  Much of it you could buy anywhere, probably most of it.  I have no idea if the deals are good.  Just being there again was enough for me.

Grand Baazar

Grand Baazar

Grand Baazar

Grand Baazar