Monday, July 26, 2010


Three years ago P and I went to Tuscany for a one week guided tour. We spent only a few hours in Florence on two days, but we fell in love with the place. I especially wanted to see paintings and decorations in the churches, hoping to find clues left by artists about how we reconcile the doctrine of peace and love with the actuality of the civil violence and religious corruption of the times. The work that struck me most strongly and immediately was a fresco of the trinity in Ognissanti, unattributed, uncleaned, and unmentioned in guide books. Jesus looks sad, tired, and disappointed; the father looks at us sideways, and his gesture of blessing isn't aimed at anyone. He is actually pointing toward the holy spirit that is flying straight out at us. Something more is coming, if we are receptive to the messages of the spirit.

I am not concerned with how much of such messages was intended by the artist and how much is projection by the viewer. The messages in art are as clear as the messages in dreams, and more available to further exploration by contemplation and revisiting. I feel a strong urge to see more images in the size and context the artists intended. So that is why we are going back to Florence, for a month this time. And while we are relaxing between pictures and hoping for inspiration to soak in (or out), we can look at gardens and a thousand years of architecture all jumbled together and eat the best ice cream in the world.