Tag Archives | Italy at home

Painting Italy: An Artist Profile

Tuscan Hills, a painting by William F. Renzulli

The beauty of Italy has inspired countless artists through the years, including ones who live here in the United States. Today, I am profiling artist William Renzulli, who was moved to paint his ancestral home Castelnuovo della Daunia in Puglia after a family reunion visit in 2008 and who will soon be headed to Bologna to paint that city’s gorgeous medieval lines and curves as well as the landscapes of Emilia-Romagna. Continue Reading →

How To Make Bolognese Sauce

Here’s a great way to bring Italy home – learn how to make Bolognese sauce! There are dozens of instructional videos out there, including this recent one from Epicurious.com. But two of the best I have found – that adhere to the original ingredients and techniques from Italy – come from Mario Batali, the Italian-American chef who used to have a fantastic show on the Food Network, and from ItalianFoodNet.com, an Italian language website devoted to food.

It’s fun to see Mario and Chef Alessandro preparing the ragù. I’m definitely inspired to make my own!

Chef Mario Batali’s Bolognese Sauce

Ragù alla Bolognese fron ItalianFoodNet.com

Photo by Carpe Feline

Abruzzo’s Beffi Triptych

Beffi Triptych from Abruzzo

Beffi Triptych from Abruzzo

In the wake of Abruzzo’s devastating earthquake of April 2009, many companies and countries have pulled together to aid the tremor-stricken region. The other day, while visiting the National Gallery in Washington, DC, I learned that this aid has been extended to the art world.

Since June 15, 2009, the National Gallery’s grand rotunda has been the home of the Beffi Triptych, a treasure from the National Museum of Abruzzo. The work is on loan “in gratitude to the United States for being among the first to offer assistance to the region after the earthquake and as testimony to the Italian commitment to restore fully the cultural heritage of the region.”

The triptych is quite a beautiful site, and I’m delighted that people in the U.S. are able to see this masterpiece on such an exclusive stage. However, I should also point out that while much of Abruzzo’s art has found a home, some tent cities still exist outside of L’Aquila. Let’s hope the Italian government – or another generous entity – is able to provide these people shelter before the cold really sets in.

Photo from the National Gallery website

Italy at Home: Renaissance Rivals in Boston and Valentino Everywhere

No time or money to plan an Italy vacation right now? Here’s another installment of what we call “Italy at Home.” Here are two things you can put on your calendar.

If you’re in Boston, head to the Museum of Fine Arts where the show “Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice” is underway. A recent review by Holland Cotter of the New York Times said “You can pretty much kiss goodbye, at least for now, the prospect of more exhibitions like [this one]. Transatlantic loans of the kind that make this show the breathtaker it is are a big drain on strapped museum budgets. Boston was lucky to partner with the Louvre on this project, but such masterpiece gatherings are likely to be rare in years to come.” The exhibit runs through August 16. Get your tickets now.

Another Italy-related show may be coming to a theater near you beginning March 18. Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary about legendary fashion designer Valentino Garavani played to huge audiences at various film festivals (Venice, Toronto) all last fall. Cinemas in New York will begin screenings on the 18th, followed by Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. You can follow the film on its own Facebook page to see if more dates are added.

Why Gelato? Why Not!

A lovely scoop of chocolate gelato

If you’re like us, then any time of the year is a good time to think about and eat gelato. This is exactly the premise of a new website called WhyGelato.com.

Owned by PreGel America, a subsidiary of a gelato company from Reggio Emilia, WhyGelato.com wants to be a “gelato-inspired resource for anyone and everyone interested in gelato and looking to learn more about the delicious frozen treat – including where to find and enjoy it.” You can learn more about gelato, its flavors, and how its made, as well as where to find the nearest gelateria in the U.S. and Mexico. If you’re so inclined, you can also share your gelato stories from around the world.

Yeah, it’s a corporate site. But we like the potential it has to bring together all the gelato resources from all over the world. Expressing your love for gelato on a t-shirt, however, may be overkill.

Leonardo’s Notebooks Come to the U.S.

Leonardos Notebooks and Drawings Are Coming to the U.S.

Leonardo's Notebooks and Drawings Are Coming to the U.S.

For the first time ever in the U.S. – at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, no less – Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and notebooks from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin will be on display. To say this is a huge deal is an understatement. In fact, this is the first time that all the pieces of the collection have been shown together outside of Turin.

Included in the exhibit, explains AP, is Leonardo’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds, an 18-page notebook which had never been shown in the United States. Thick magnifying glasses are available for visitors to truly get a sense of the detail Leonardo packed into the drawings, some of which are nearly complete and others that seem like quick doodles.”

The Birmingham show will run through November 9. After that, the drawings will head to San Francisco where they will be displayed from November 15 through January 4, 2009, at the Legion of Honor. As there is only one Leonardo in any permanent collection in the U.S. – Ginevra de’ Benci at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC – this is truly an exhibition you don’t want to miss if you are stateside this fall.

Bernini Up Close and Close To Home

Bust of Costanza Bonarelli by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

If you’re not taking a trip to Rome, the former stomping ground and site of many works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, don’t fret. Approximately 57 of the Baroque artist’s marble sculptures will be on display at the Getty Museum through October 26.

The highlight of the show, according to David Littlejohn in his Wall Street Journal article Living, Breathing Portraits in Marble from Bernini, is the bust of Bernini’s mistress Costanza Bonarelli.

“A sensuous bust of Bernini’s mistress Costanza Bonarelli is the most compelling work on display. The wife of one of his studio assistants, Costanza apparently shared her favors between Gian Lorenzo and his younger brother, driving the sculptor to violent fits of jealousy. But when he carved this instant, breathless image — for his own private devotion — he was clearly in thrall to her charms. Costanza is caught as if unaware, her chemise falling open over a very touchable breast, her eyes staring in shock and desire, her hair in lusty disarray, her ripely curved lips slightly open, revealing a bit of tongue.”

Other “portraits” in the exhibition include busts of Pope Urban VIII (Bernini’s primary papal patron), Pope Clement X, Cardinal Richelieu of France, and other European leaders. While the preview of some of the busts online may not astonish, I can assure you that viewing a Bernini up close will. Consider it homework before your next Roman vacation.

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