March 27, 2016 – Forli

I feel kind of sad that we are not in Montecatini Terme today. Marco from Hotel Puccini has promised us such a grand time with the smashing of the giant chocolate Easter egg and the special surprise inside. But, alas, we are in Forli now without our friends at Hotel Puccini.

The giant chocolate Easter egg at the Hotel Puccini in Montecatini.
The giant chocolate Easter egg at the Hotel Puccini in Montecatini.

However, we have exciting things to do. The main reason that we have come to Forli is to see the Piero della Francesca exhibition, “Exploring a Legend.” Who, you might say? It seems that after Piero made his masterpieces he fell into the netherworld of great Renaissance artists. He was not discovered again until the 19th century. Over the next few days we are planning on seeing a great many of his masterpieces. But, back to the exhibition.

Banner outside the San Domenico Museums advertising the exhibition
Banner outside the San Domenico Museums advertising the exhibition

The idea behind this exhibition is to show how Piero della Francesca (PDF) influenced painters for hundreds of years. I mean, seriously, everyone from Giovanni Bellini to Edward Hopper. There was this guy, Roberto Longhi, who wrote a book connecting almost everyone who ever painted to PDF.

There are actually very few paintings by PDF in the exhibition. Mostly it is a comparison to other peoples’ art. We walk through the exhibition wondering if we will ever see any thing by PDF. Aha! Finally a room with some of PDF’s masterpieces. And at least one reasonable comparison.

A comparison between Piero della Francesca's Madonna della Misericordia (1460-62) and Felice Casorato's Silvana Cenni (1922)
A comparison between Piero della Francesca’s Madonna della Misericordia (1460-62) and Felice Casorato’s Silvana Cenni (1922)

Then the narrative skews back to comparison of light, or color, or the static-ness of the figures, or the fact that there is a landscape through a window. I am afraid that my art appreciation is not quite subtle enough!

The final comparison is to Edward Hopper. Here the our guide admits that any connection is just tenuous and it is not even clear that Edward Hopper knew about PDF. The fact that PDF had static light imbued figures does not compare with the isolation felt in Hopper’s paintings IMHO.

Example used as a comparison, Manhattan Bridge Loop by Edward Hopper (1928)
Example used as a comparison, Manhattan Bridge Loop by Edward Hopper (1928)

We break for lunch to discuss our impressions of the exhibition. We are afraid that we will not be able to find anywhere open on Easter. But it is no problem. We order some homey, Forli food at the Petit Arquesbuse. In addition to a salad we have…

After lunch we go back to the picture gallery at the San Domenico Museums where we have just seen the PDF exhibition. We enjoy looking at our usual fare of 13th, 14th, and 15th century paintings and sculptures.

The first martyr Saint Peter Martyr with a sword through his head
The first martyr Saint Peter Martyr with a sword through his head
Saint Anthony the Abbot's pig - a represntation of the devil(temptation) that is frequently shown with pictures of the Saint
Saint Anthony the Abbot’s pig – a representation of the devil (temptation) that is frequently shown with pictures of the Saint

Dinner tonight is a sandwich and some snacks in the lounge of the hotel.  As usual we are on the early side and almost no one joins us.

Panini for supper
Panini for supper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.