All posts tagged: Italy

“Fire at Sea”: the italian take on the refugee crisis

“Fire at Sea” (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi is the italian film chosen to compete for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards: it’s a brave choice taken by a selected few at the Italian National Film Industry Commission (ANICA). Easier stories could have been picked from the shortlisted ones, but the elitist group of people representing the various branches of the industry decided to stick their necks out for a cause. The cause is a humanitarian and historical one: “Fire at Sea” tells the true story of unimaginable journeys to escape foreign bombs and survive thirst, now, in our highly-civilized, super-progressive and hyper-connected 2016. The choice has received large support by the italian public opinion (#fuocoammare), Italian PM Matteo Renzi was proud and national television screened it on October 3rd: Italy being represented by Fuocoammare for the Oscar competition is a choice seen like a patriotic support to what italian nationals are doing to save lives in the tiny mediterranean island of Lampedusa in Sicily. In fact Italy is the only country to have a National Day to Remember the Victims of Migrations and rise consciousness on Hospitality, and it’s October …

The Diver

Suspended in the air, dynamic but still, concentrically plunges Ernesto Michahelles’ diver.  The sculpture, in patinated plaster, currently exposed at Palazzo Strozzi for the exhibition on the Thirties, is the draft for a bronze casting to be displayed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  However, the IOC asked the artist to create a smaller sculpture, 160 cm instead of the almost 3 meters of this original project, and later Thayaht himself could not afford to pay for the metal fusion. The diver’s balance and the effort are brilliantly reproduced in the work, anchored on a single pin below the hands. The metal circles are independently set as a base, and each time the sculpture is mounted, its needs to find its own balance again, its own perfect alignment. Linear artist with eclectic skills, Thayaht is a particular character in the art world. Sculptor, painter, goldsmith and fashion designer , Thayaht, was born in Florence in 1893. He grew up in his grandfather’s house at Poggio Imperiale, and his years in Paris, designed clothes for the atelier …

Firenze Vogue Fashion Night Out, © MarioLuca Giusti

Vogue’s Night Out

High heels, chic dress and sexy make-up, Firenze, yesterday evening, has had a brilliant night out. Down the streets walked, elegantly and confidently, a contemporary Florence.  Feminine, sophisticated, bright, being florentine had a rejuvenated meaning. Vogue’s all-involving event trasformed the ancient town centre in a huge party venue. Every shop participated offering champagne, Campari, nibbles and live DJ music. People browsed around, stopped to chat and catch up with old friends, went through museums, spared a glance at the Duomo, stared at Palazzo Vecchio, continued to walk about Via Tornabuoni, strolled down Via della Vigna Nuova. In Piazza Goldoni, Mario Luca Giusti’s colorful jugs transformed street works into an installation. There is not much room for usual polemics as everyone seems truly quite happy with having one glittering night off the crisis’ mood. A new energy runs through Firenze’s veins. Lively and pleasant, it has awakened the Arno’s banks solitary inhabitants and dragged them into a great open-air party. In other words, thanks to our mayor Matteo Renzi, definitely en Vogue. © Melissa Pignatelli 2012 …

Global Bollywood

Song and dance travel along with Bollywood films, already famous for their romance based narratives. In an interesting book edited by Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti, the authors point out how music and body movement have been able to circulate, and readapt. Hindi films have a musical dimension able to trigger creative remakes of the Indian film tradition. In an interesting way, in the popular Italian tv series, ‘Tutti Pazzi per Amore’, the main characters, when took over by dreams or thoughts, see themselves singing their favourite songs. And in one famous episode the whole Italian cast dressed with colorful sarees performs a group song and dance ‘Say Shava Shava’, where cultural contamination and reinterpretation trigger an energetic performance (watch here). The song, taken from Karan Johar’s film “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…” (“Sometimes happiness, sometimes sadness..”), and indeed the dance, reconcile a couple in a key love story. As professor  Philip Lutgendorf, of Iowa University puts it in his book review, “technologies of globalization enhance the eclecticism of Bombay soundtracks and lead to their sampling …

Mediterranean Light

Vittorio Corcos and Joaquin Sorolla are two painters of late Nineteenth century – early Twentieth century, Corcos  is Italian, Sorolla Spanish. They paint details of everyday life in Mediterranean light. Vittorio Corcos was born in Livorno in 1859 and died in Florence in 1933. He is part of the “Macchiaioli” group that painted mostly the Tuscan coast and sea. Joaquim Sorolla was born in Valencia in 1863 and died in Cercedilla in 1923. In Madrid, the Sorolla Museum collects his paintings. The similarity of their choices is striking  and I here suggest a parallel between the two artists who, probably, never met. Mediterranean light is treated in similar ways through in the painting of a little girl looking at the sea. © Melissa Pignatelli 2012

Lo Studio di Pasquale Naccarato in Borgo Santi Apostoli

The Painter in Florence

He started by going to Anna Rosselli del Turco saying: “Milady, I like the shop – just off the Arno in Florence, overlooking a listed garden–  here are my savings for the first month’s rent. For the next one you’ll have to wait and hope with me my paintings sell. I think I will manage, what do you say? “. And the Lady smiled. The young painter had the idea to make a living and pay the rent by selling paintings, masterfully executed, copied from masterpieces of ancient art. He painted the sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio, portraits of Rembrandt and Van Eyck, madonnas by Guercino, seventeenth-century still lifes. Proposals that defied 21st century modernity, the one of multimedia technologies that ended paper. “Today I sold a painting, the artist told his landlord, Lemons in still life”. The Marquis, who took his sister’s place in managing property, never spoke much. Like her, he just smiled. He was almost like a patron but believed in the painter’s self-confidence. He had important work commissioned for him in …