Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes
Florence. Jenny found a kitten with a topaz stud in her Prada handbag.
Jenny is a fabulous stylist. Coolest linen and floppy hat broad-brimmed enough
to shelter a platoon of Praetorian Guard. Smart swanky with style and the
slightest contempt for the rest of the world. Very Florence.
That’s me for ten days. I’m teaching an art course. But then I think
about it. Prada? Kitten with a topaz? Botox to go?
What happened to smudged smocks? Big paint brush stuck in the quickly
frizzing hair? Grubby models with leaking smelly belly aches. The starving half
doped cur on a string sucking and scratching a cankerous hind quarter? Is there
no romance left?
And it’s hot. The water colors dry on the palette. I say why not a cold
beer? Jenny only does plastic and can’t open the Prada in case she disturbs the sleeping kitten. OK. Let
the kitten purr. I pay. Oh for the cool of a big workshop or studio. The
timing’s good. Enter, Susan Madocks
Susan’s at the British
Institute in Florence. She’s full of BIF’s don’t-miss course this week Experiencing
the Renaissance Workshop with Alan Pascuzzi. Lots of hands-on in the studio finding
out what it was like to be an apprentice in an artist’s studio - including
Any good? Should be. It was
here that Kate Middleton, as then she was, did the BIF’s art history course.
Handy when the family-in-law has one of the finest private art collections in
the world. Maybe our newest Duchess
should be here at the end of the month.
The Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi is
putting on Money and Beauty - Bankers, Botticelli, and the Bonfire of the
. Great title in a country
that’s going, going, gone. Sold to the gentleman with a Sicilian zipcode.
It’ll be dripping with true
masterpieces: we always think Botticelli but, but for me I’m waiting for Fra.
Angelico, Beato Angelico the wonderfully wise priest who in the first half of the 1400s emerged as a rare
and perfect talent of the early Renaissance. So much of Fra. Angelico here in
Florence; The Adoration of the Magi, Transfiguration, Noli Me Tangeri. And
this is only toe in the water stuff. You must get to Florence starting 29
We all know Italy is
back-to-back Renaissance. But this is the compelling connection between the
orgins of Italian banking and cultural heritage as seen by the two curators, Ludovica
Sebregondi, the expert on the radical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola (from
whom we get the phrase "Bonfire of the Vanities"), and Tim Parks (read his Medici Money). A success. Go see it Silvio.
Which brings me back to the
kitten with the topaz, Prada and the beautiful Jenny . Maybe I’ve got it
wrong. Maybe I should bin the
paint-stiff smock and dig out the slinky silk D&G number I found in the Second
Time Around shop. Who says artists have to sweat?
From today I’m with kittens
who do Prada and, a wonderful seventeenth-century painter, Artemisia Gentileschi. Artemisia says it for me.
A lady with attitude. I’m off to the Uffizi in the morning to see if they’ve
still got her Judith Slaying Holofernes. Scary stuff. May even take the kitten.
ArtScene Quote of the Week.
My illustrious lordship, I'll show you what a woman can do. Artemisia Gentileschi