Thursday, August 22, 2013

Deep into San Clemente

On a sunny morning John and I walked down the Via Dei Fori Imperiali past buskers,
the Forum
and the Colisseum
to the amazing 12th century church of San Clemente. While John checked out the information board at the side entrance to the church,
I went around to the below street-level, 4th century Portico of the earlier church
which enters to the atrium (later a cloister) which was the original passage way to the church.
The present church built in 1108 retained the layout of an earlier 4th century church as well as the marble 6th century choir enclosure from the original church which was demolished during the 1084 Sack of Rome. That's a 12th century mosaic in the background.
This Crucifixion in the Chapel of the Passion may be by Masaccio.
Many elements of the earlier church like this pillar and its capital were re-used in the new church.
If you visit San Clemente be sure to descend below the present church to the remains of the 4th-11th century church below
with its remains of tombs and relief sculptures
and 11th century Romanesque frescoes.
This fresco commemorates the story of a boy found alive in St Clement's tomb beneath the Black Sea.
This detail shows the saved boy. You can just see his head at the bottom right of the fresco above.
This fresco of Empress Theodora, Constantine's Byzantine wife, was later turned into a Madonna with Child.
Down a third level, the dark, underground corridors reveal a pagan Temple of Mithras.
One level below that one finds a 1st century private Roman home with its own spring water still flowing after two thousand years.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shelley Savor at Arcadia Gallery

 Bill and another friend helped Shelley Savor hang "Paint Chip Paradise" this week at the Arcadia Gallery
I wasn't able to help and so I didn't get to see the new Savors until last night when the show opened.
Savor used pencil, watercolour and mixed media on paint sample chips.
She has used paint chips from Debbie Travis, paint chips from Martha Stewart, and chips from other designers. Such a great idea.
 "Thinking About It"
"Thankfully, It Was Only A Passing Cloud"
The work can be whimsical. It can also be gut-wrenching.
It can occasionally be whimsical and gut-wrenching at the same time.
Paint Chip Paradise. Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., until September 1st. ARCADIA GALLERY, 680 Queens Quay West, one block west of Bathurst Street.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dorian Fitzgerald at Clint Roenisch

As we walk into the Clint Roenisch Gallery we see Dorian Fitzgerald's wonderful room-sized painting of the  Drummond Castle Gardens (until August 31st).
On the way out we see ourselves in the garden
in a giant mirror.  Nice.
Also on the way out I noticed this Jenny Holzer "Truism" on an exterior wall of the gallery: "Force always attracts men of low morality." Always appropriate.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Arrival in Ottawa

When John and I grabbed a cab at the Via Rail station the driver didn't know the Swiss Hotel where we'd booked a room for the weekend. He knew how to get to Daly Ave and Cumberland Street though. When we arrived he said "Here we are, but I don't see a hotel". I pointed across the street to the red door.
We really enjoyed our room in this friendly, attractive, reasonably priced boutique hotel,  perfectly situated just below Byward Market. We highly recommend it.
As soon as we unpacked we headed out for dinner in the market neighbourhood. I had read about a nice pub, The Aude Dubliner, that was noted for its fish and chips.
We were soon seated on its shady patio. 
We both opted for the famous fish.
Great crowd at the tables and great service. We felt right at home.
After dinner we walked over to the Parliament Buildings.
We loved Barbara Patterson's sculpture, The Famous Five Monument,
which commemorates five Canadian women (Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Nellie McClung) who successfully led a challenge to rules blocking women from the Senate in 1928. They claimed that "Women are Persons" and thereby should be eligible for seats.
Portrait of Louise McKinney
The Parliament grounds had nice views of Ottawa at sunset.
Here's the National Gallery of Art with its "iceberg" installation and Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica with its silver spires situated above the Ottawa River.
Across the Ottawa River the Museum of Civilization glows on the Quebec side of the river in Gatineau.
Behind us Queen Elizabeth II looms on horseback.
This little girl and I loved the little rabbits that fearlessly grazed on the lawns.
When the little visitor disappeared the little girl told her parents. "No problem. I got 2 good pictures!"
The pavilion and the Parliament library at the rear of the Parliament Buildings are riotous examples of Neo-Gothic architecture.
We headed back to our hotel past the Victorian fantasy, the Chateau Laurier hotel, glowing like a castle,
and the picturesque locks connecting the Ottawa River to the Rideau Canal above. A lovely introduction to Ottawa, Canada's capital city.