Friday, May 26, 2017

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Campo dei Frari, San Polo, Venice
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Campo dei Frari, San Polo
Venice, September 2013

“The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, usually just called the Frari, is a church in Venice, northern Italy. One of the greatest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica. It stands on the Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district. The church is dedicated to the Assumption. The Franciscans were granted land to build a church in 1250, but the building was not completed until 1338. Work almost immediately began on its much larger replacement, the current church, which took over a century to build. The campanile, the second tallest in the city after that of San Marco, was completed in 1396. The imposing edifice is built of brick, and is one of the city's three notable churches built in the Italian Gothic style. As with many Venetian churches, the exterior is rather plain. The interior contains the only rood screen still in place in Venice. The Frari is a parish church of the Vicariate of San Polo-Santa Croce-Dorsoduro. The other churches of the parish are San Barnaba, San Ludovico Vescovo, Santa Maria del Soccorso and Santa Margherita.” (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Wikipedia)

Thursday, May 25, 2017


The 242 ft yacht “Ilona”, built by Amels, West India Dock, Isle of Dogs, London
The 242 ft yacht “Ilona”, built by Amels in 2004
West India Dock, Isle of Dogs
London, September 2016

“The 73.81 metres (or 242 ft) long custom built yacht was launched by Amels in the Netherlands in 2004 and she has also refitted in 2006, and 2012. She is classed as one of the world’s top 100 largest private yachts and has the unusual feature of a helipad, when she was built the helicopter could be stowed in a hangar below deck. In the latest refit, the helicopter garage was replaced by a large 10m by 3m swimming pool. Estimated to have cost 100 million dollars, the Super Yacht Ilona is owned by one of Australia’s richest men, businessman Frank Lowy who made much of his fortune developing shopping centres with the Westfield Group. Lowy has also been one of the main individuals responsible for developing professional football in Australia in the last decade. Unusually for a Super Yacht owner, Lowy and his family have used the yacht to travel extensively around the world and the boat is the fourth yacht called Ilona which has been built and launched for the owner.” (Super Yacht Ilona arrives in West India Dock, Isle of Dogs Life)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Copy of “Eve” by Lot Torelli, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, Piazza del Duomo, Florence
Copy of “Eve” by Lot Torelli, 1886
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower
Piazza del Duomo
Florence, May 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

El Cap de Barcelona

El Cap de Barcelona (The Head of Barcelona) by Roy Lichtenstein, Passeig de Colom, Barcelona
El Cap de Barcelona” (The Head) by Roy Lichtenstein
Passeig de Colom
Barcelona, March 2017

The Head of Barcelona, or El Cap de Barcelona in Catalan, is a 64-foot sculpture done by American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The sculpture stands tall on the waterfront in the heart of the city. Made out of concrete and ceramic, it is an abstract rendition of a woman's head and appears exactly how one would expect a Lichtenstein sculpture to be. Lichtenstein did not start experimenting with three-dimensional art until the late 1970s, and prior to this his main focus was on pop art. He mainly painted on large canvases and his paintings resembled comic-strip art; his signature use of bold primary colors, thick dark lines, thought bubbles containing context and sound effects, and dots used as a method of shading, can be seen in most of his works from 1961 and later, starting with his painting Look Mickey.” (El Cap de Barcelona, Wikipedia)


Monday, May 22, 2017

Piccolo Teatro

Piccolo Teatro della Città di Milano, Teatro Grassi, Via Rovello, Milan
Piccolo Teatro della Città di Milano (Little Theatre of the City of Milan)
Teatro Grassi, Via Rovello
Milan, November 2016

“The Piccolo Teatro della Città di Milano is a theatre in Milan, Italy. Founded in 1947, it is Italy's first permanent theatre, and a national ‘teatro stabile’, or permanent repertory company, and is considered a theatre of major national and European importance. The theatre has three venues: Teatro Grassi, in Via Rovello, between Sforza Castle and the Piazza del Duomo; Teatro Studio, which was originally intended to be the theater's rehearsal hall; and Teatro Strehler, which opened in 1998 with a seating capacity of 974. Its annual programme consists of approximately thirty performances. In addition, the venue hosts cultural events, from festivals and films, to concerts, conferences, and conventions, as well as supporting the Paolo Grassi Drama School.” (Piccolo Teatro, Wikipedia)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Paternoster Vents

Paternoster Vents or Angel's Wings by Thomas Heatherwick, Paternoster Square, City of London, London
Paternoster Vents” (or “Angel's Wings”) by Thomas Heatherwick, 2002
Paternoster Square, City of London
London, September 2016

“Paternoster Square is part of a development in a high-profile, sensitive location, next to St Paul’s Cathedral in London. It is a new public space containing a pre-existing underground electricity substation. This substation required a cooling system with outlet and inlet vents, but the client team was unhappy with the proposed solution for a single large object as it would turn the surrounding space into a corridor. The studio made use of the two existing holes in the concrete slab covering the substation, to reduce the overall size of the vent object by splitting the outlet part into two smaller vents – saving significant space by setting the inlet ducts into the ground using grilles flush with the pavement. The aesthetic design is derived from experiments with folded paper, scaled up to 11m in height; the vents retain the proportions of the A4-size paper used in these experiments. The Vents are fabricated from 63 identical, 8mm thick, stainless steel isosceles triangles welded together and finished by glass bead blasting. The Vents are a permanent installation, available for the public to visit.”
(Paternoster Vents, Heatherwick studio)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Palazzo Corsini al Prato

Palazzo Corsini al Prato by Bernardo Buontalenti, Via il Prato, Florence
Palazzo Corsini al Prato by Bernardo Buontalenti, 1594
Via il Prato
Florence, April 2017

“Palazzo Corsini al Prato was created by Renaissance architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1594, who amongst his many great works, is said, not unimportantly, to have invented Italian gelato. The building was commissioned by an aristocrat with a passion for botany who wished to have a villa in the city centre, surrounded by a large park. (Well, who doesn’t?) A few years later, however, construction had to be interrupted due to the aristocrat’s financial difficulties. It was only continued in 1620 when the Corsini family bought the property. Filippo Corsini had Gherardo Silvani create an Italian garden, adorned with statues that can still be found today. Skillfully done, the difference in height between the statues creates an effect that makes the garden look even bigger than it really is.” (Hidden from view, The Florentine)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tristan Bernard

Bust of Tristan Bernard by Josette Hébert-Coëffin, place Tristan-Bernard, quartier des Ternes, Paris
Bust of Tristan Bernard by Josette Hébert-Coëffin
Place Tristan-Bernard
Quartier des Ternes, 17e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

“Born Paul Bernard into a Jewish family in Besançon, Doubs, Franche-Comté, France, he was the son of an architect. He left Besançon at the age of 14 years, relocating with his father to Paris, where he studied at the Lycée Condorcet, which was noted for its numerous literary alumni. In 1888 was born his son Jean-Jacques Bernard, also a dramatist. He studied law, but after his military service he started his career as the manager of an aluminium smelter. In the 1890s he also managed the Vélodrome de la Seine at Levallois-Perret and the Vélodrome Buffalo, whose events were an integral part of Parisian life, being regularly attended by personalities such as Toulouse-Lautrec.[1] He reputedly introduced the bell to signify the last lap of a race. After his first publication in La Revue Blanche in 1891, he became increasingly a writer and adopted the pseudonym Tristan. His first play, Les Pieds Nickelés (Nickel-plated Feet), was a great success and was representative of the style of his later work (generally humorous).[citation needed] He became known especially for his writing for vaudeville-type performances, which were very popular in France during that time. He also wrote several novels and some poetry. Bernard is remembered mainly for witticisms, particularly from his play Les Jumeaux de Brighton (The Brighton Twins). In 1932, he was a candidate for the Académie Française, but was not elected, receiving only 2 votes of a total of 39.” (Tristan Bernard, Wikipedia)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cloister of St Andrew

Chiostro di Sant'Andrea, Cloister of St Andrew, Vico Dritto di Ponticello, Genoa
Chiostro di Sant'Andrea (Cloister of St Andrew)
Vico Dritto di Ponticello
Genoa, April 2016

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

London Aquatics Centre

London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

“It was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid in 2004 before London won the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The centre was built alongside the Water Polo Arena, and opposite the Olympic Stadium on the opposite bank of the Waterworks River. The site is 45 metres (148 feet) high, 160 metres (520 feet) long and 80 metres (260 feet) wide. The wave-like roof is stated to be 11,200 square feet (1,040 m2), a reduction from the previously stated 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2). The design was inspired by the Dollan Aqua Centre in East Kilbride, Scotland.” (London Aquatics Centre, Wikipedia)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Two Brothers

Wire mesh sculpture by Mattia Trotta, Villa Fabbricotti, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, Florence
Wire mesh sculpture by Mattia Trotta, 2011
Villa Fabbricotti, Via Vittorio Emanuele II
Florence, April 2017

“Italian sculptor Mattia Trotta creates amazing sculptures from wire meshes, which at first glance, I mistook to be that by Ivan Lovatt who works with almost the same materials. While Ivan Lovatt creates sculptures from chicken wire, Mattia Trotta uses steel. Both artist also employ different techniques. Trotta starts from a skeleton of steel wrapped around with wire. One by one, these wires are tangled and compacted to fill the casing. As a skilled tailor who, with needle and thread, sew a dress that fits perfectly on the body, Mattia Trotta with iron creates a kind of dress that can give fullness and thickness to thought and emotion, as he himself says: ‘Every wire and twist is given a reason to exist.’ Brought to completion the iron figure undergoes further treatment with acid to prevent corrosion and to extract the natural shades and colors of the wires.” (Iron Wire Sculptures by Mattia Trotta, Amusing Planet)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tower of Apostle Thomas

Tower of Apostle Thomas, Passion Façade, Sagrada Família, Carrer de Sardenya, Barcelona
Tower of Apostle Thomas
Passion Façade, Sagrada Família
Carrer de Sardenya
Barcelona, March 2017

“Gaudí's original design calls for a total of eighteen spires, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Eight spires have been built as of 2010, corresponding to four apostles at the Nativity façade and four apostles at the Passion façade. According to the 2005 ‘Works Report’ of the project's official website, drawings signed by Gaudí and recently found in the Municipal Archives, indicate that the spire of the Virgin was in fact intended by Gaudí to be shorter than those of the evangelists. The spire height will follow Gaudí's intention, which according to the report will work with the existing foundation. The Evangelists' spires will be surmounted by sculptures of their traditional symbols: a winged bull (Saint Luke), a winged man (Saint Matthew), an eagle (Saint John), and a winged lion (Saint Mark). The central spire of Jesus Christ is to be surmounted by a giant cross; its total height (170 metres (560 ft)) will be one metre less than that of Montjuïc hill in Barcelona as Gaudí believed that his creation should not surpass God's. The lower spires are surmounted by communion hosts with sheaves of wheat and chalices with bunches of grapes, representing the Eucharist. The completion of the spires will make Sagrada Família the tallest church building in the world.” (Sagrada Família, Wikipedia)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Palazzo Re Enzo

Palazzo Re Enzo
Piazza del Nettuno
Bologna, June 2015

“Palazzo Re Enzo is a palace in Bologna, northern Italy. It takes its name from Enzio of Sardinia, Frederick II's son, who was prisoner here from 1249 until his death in 1272. The palace was built between 1244-1246 as an extension of the nearby Palazzo del Podestà, which had proven insufficient for the exigences of the Commune of Bologna. It was therefore initially known as Palatium Novum (‘New Palace’). Three years after the palace completion, Enzio was captured by the Guelphs at the Battle of Fossalta, and after a short stay in Anzola he was moved here, where he remained until his death. In 1386 Antonio di Vincenzo finished the Sala dei Trecento ("Hall of the Three-Hundred"), which was to become the city's archive. The last floor was largely renovated in 1771 by Giovanni Giacomo Dotti. The current Gothic appearance dates from the restoration of 1905 due to Alfonso Rubbiani. On the right of the palace is the access to the chapel of Santa Maria dei Carcerati, where the condemned to death went to. In the first floor was held the Carroccio and the war machines, while in the middle floor were the offices of the praetor and the chapel.”
(Palazzo Re Enzo, Wikipedia)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Borough Market Hall

Market Hall by DLA Architects, Borough Market, Southwark, London
Market Hall by DLA Architects, 2013
Borough Market, Southwark
Bedale Street / Borough High Street
London, September 2016

“DLA have transformed a pocket of Southwark into a new city garden and gathering space for Borough Market through the refurbishment of The Market Hall. Borough Market was established in 1754 and is London's oldest food Market. With its roots based firmly in the local community, an Act of Parliament stated that Borough Market should remain ''an estate for the use and benefit of the local community forever''. The Market Hall strengthens this Act by promoting food education and sustainability, whilst engaging the local community. DLA have helped the Trustees of Borough Market achieve this through the development of the brief and a series of distinctive architectural interventions including a vertical herb garden, scented planter seating, a mobile olive orchard, hop planters, a demonstration kitchen and a CNC engineered timber cladding design which represents the Market through the four seasons. Located opposite London Bridge Station and the Shard, the Market Hall is a piece of urban design which for the first time in the Market's rich history stiches together the existing Market and Borough High Street, whilst providing a frontage where Market activities will be visible and education events promoted. Locals and visitors to Borough Market will now be greeted with an ever changing calendar of events and activities throughout the day and year. The flexible community hall will function as a public square, garden, education space and dining room.” (The Market Hall,

Friday, May 12, 2017


Goldrake, Grendizer at a window, Borgo degli Albizi, Florence
Goldrake (Grendizer) at a window
Borgo degli Albizi
Florence, January 2016

Thursday, May 11, 2017


La Gamba or Gambrinus by Javier Mariscal and Alfredo Arribas, Passeig de Colom, Barcelona
“La Gamba” or “Gambrinus” by Javier Mariscal and Alfredo Arribas, 1989
Passeig de Colom
Barcelona, March 2017

“Gambrinus is probably the happiest lobster in Barcelona and one of the stars of Barcelona’s public art. He waits at the end of Passeig de Colom with big pinching claws and a cheeky smile ready to welcome you to the seafront. This huge cartoon-like lobster was, like most of the urban art in Port Olympic, commissioned for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Gambrinus was created by the Valencia-born artist Javier Mariscal, dubbed “the Peter Pan of Spanish design”. He first won the adoration of the public in 1988 with his design of “Cobi,” the official Olympic mascot for the Games in 1992, creating its corporate identity with this friendly dog mascot. Gambrinus is clever, edgy, and humorous. Below it there was once a Gambrinus café bar, and whilst the café has now closed the lovable lobster remains.” (Gambrinus by Javier Mariscal, AB Apartment Barcelona Guide)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Tartuca (Tortoise) fountain by Bruno Buracchini, Via San Pietro, Siena
Tartuca (Tortoise) fountain by Bruno Buracchini, 1951
Via San Pietro
Siena, April 2017

“The first Siena contrada to commission its own unique fountain was Tartuca (tortoise). Sculptor Vico Consorti was engaged by the contrada to make a bronze turtle, but the original sculpture lacked animation and did not satisfy the contrada committee. The replacement, as recast by artist Bruno Buracchini, depicts a child astride a tortoise in motion. Tartuca’s fountain was inaugurated in 1951, but due to the recasting and delays it was not the first but the second put into use. Tartuca’s patron, St. Anthony of Padua, is celebrated on June 13. The Tartuca contrada is in the southeast part of Siena, between the Pinacoteca and Porta Tufi, in Terzo di Città. Their fountain occupies a niche in a wall on Via San Pietro.” (Siena's Contrada Fountains, La Bella Vita in Italia)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Heroic Self Sacrifice

Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, Postman's Park, City of London, London
Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice
Postman's Park, City of London
London, September 2016

“The painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts and his second wife Mary Fraser Tytler had long been advocates of the idea of art as a force for social change. Watts had painted a series of portraits of those figures he considered to be a positive social influence, the ‘Hall of Fame’, which was donated to the National Portrait Gallery. As the son of a piano maker, who reportedly despised the wealthy and powerful and twice refused a baronetcy, Watts had long considered a national monument to the bravery of ordinary people. In August 1866, he suggested to his patron Charles Rickards that he "erect a great statue to Unknown Worth", and proposed erecting a colossal bronze figure. Unable to secure funds, the memorial remained unrealised. On 5 September 1887, a letter was published in The Times from Watts, proposing a scheme to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Entitled ‘Another Jubilee Suggestion’, Watts proposed to ‘collect a complete record of the stories of heroism in every-day life’. Watts cited the case of Alice Ayres, a servant who, trapped in a burning house, gave up the chance to jump to safety, instead first throwing a mattress out of the window to cushion the fall, before running back into the house three times to fetch her employer's children and throwing them out of a window onto the mattress to safety before herself being overcome by fumes and falling out of the window to her death.” (The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, Wikipedia)

External links: List of tablets on the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice

Monday, May 8, 2017


Tepidarium by Giacomo Roster, Giardino dell'Orticultura (Horticultural Garden), Via Bolognese, Florence
Tepidarium by Giacomo Roster, 1878
Giardino dell'Orticultura (Horticultural Garden)
Via Bolognese
Florence, April 2017

“In 1880, the Italian Horticultural Federation chose the Horticultural Garden of Florence as the venue for the First National Exhibition. For the occasion, the Tuscan Horticultural Society sponsored the construction of a large tepidarium capable of sheltering the plants from subtropical and temperate climates. This is without a doubt the garden’s most spectacular structure. Realised by the Officine Michelucci of Pistoia on a project by architect Giacomo Roster, the work constituted an extraordinary example of architecture in iron and glass that was emerging on the national panorama. The daring building with its metal structure supported by 24 cast-iron columns is situated more or less on the spot where the ‘Chinese Pavilion’ had stood only a few years before. The tepidarium stimulated the interest for botanical research and experimentation in greenhouse cultivating.” (Horticultural Garden, Scientific Itineraries in Tuscany)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

An Iron Church

Interior of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Travail, Rue Guilleminot, Paris
Interior of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Travail by Jules-Godefroy Astruc, 1902
Rue Vercingétorix, quartier de Plaisance, 14e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II by Ercole Rosa, Piazza del Duomo, Milan
Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II by Ercole Rosa, 1896
Piazza del Duomo
Milan, November 2016

Friday, May 5, 2017

Central Avenue

Central Avenue, Battersea Park, London
Central Avenue, Battersea Park
London Borough of Wandsworth
London, September 2016

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Saccomazzone Players

Giocatori del saccomazzone, Saccomazzone Players by Romolo del Tadda, Giardino di Boboli, Boboli Gardens, Florence
“Giocatori del saccomazzone” (Saccomazzone Players), by Romolo del Tadda, 1780
Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens)
Florence, January 2017

“This statue depicts two blindfolded youth, one crouching low behind the other figure who raises a sling. In 17th century Italian courtly life the Gioco del Saccomazzone was a game played during the interludes of rustic dances. It involved two blindfolded men attempting to hit each other with a knotted cloth without lifting their left hands from an object in the middle of the room, while also shrieking imitations of bird cries. Orazio Mochi (1571-1625) originally conceived this comical composition in around 1620, and the small witty bronze of Saccomazzone Players was later enlarged to life-size pietra serena group for the Boboli Gardens by the sculptor Romolo Ferrucci del Tadda (c. 1550-1621).” (Saccomazzone Players, Web Gallery of Art)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Torre Agbar

Torre Agbar by Jean Nouvel and Fermín Vázquez, Avinguda Diagonal, Barcelona
Torre Agbar by Jean Nouvel and Fermín Vázquez, 2004
Avinguda Diagonal
Barcelona, March 2017

“The Torre Agbar is a 38-story skyscraper/tower located between Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer Badajoz, near Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, which marks the gateway to the new technological district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel in association with the Spanish firm b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos and built by Dragados. The Torre Agbar is located in the Poblenou neighbourhood of Barcelona and is named after its owners, the Agbar Group, a holding company whose interests include the Barcelona water company Aigües de Barcelona.” (Torre Agbar, Wikipedia)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Piazzale Mandraccio

Piazzale Mandraccio, Calata Mandraccio, Porto Antico, Old Port, Genoa
Piazzale Mandraccio / Calata Mandraccio
Porto Antico (Old Port)
Genoa, April 2016

“Unquestionable town square, surrounded by history, cultural attractions, museums and views of nature; Piazzale Mandraccio is a large area overlooking the sea extending from its pedestrian gateway to Porta Siberia. Flanked by trees and rows of towering palm trees, it’s a gathering place for both tourists and residents. Extensively visited all year round, crowded on weekends and during the long summer months, Piazzale Mandraccio with its sea side benches facing the sea and children play areas guarantees moments of leisure and relaxation.” (Piazzale Mandraccio, Porto Antico di Genova)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pain de Mie

Pain de Mie, More than a Sandwich, New Oxford Street, Holborn, London
“Pain de Mie”, More than a Sandwich
New Oxford Street, Holborn
London, September 2016

Pain de mie is a type of soft, white bread, mostly sold sliced and packaged. ‘Pain’ in French means ‘bread’, and ‘la mie’ refers to the soft part of bread, called the crumb. In English, pain de mie is most similar to pullman loaf or regular sandwich bread. This bread usually has sugar in it, which makes it sweeter than most French breads. This bread is usually used for making sandwiches or for toasting. It can be baked in a sealed pan, which prevents crust from forming. If not baked in a sealed pan, the crust can be cut off (as done in factories before packaging). Pain de mie is sold in rounded or rectangular shapes.” (Pain de mie, Wikipedia)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lutheran Evangelical Church

Lutheran Evangelical Church by Riccardo Mazzanti, Lungarno Torrigiani, Florence
Lutheran Evangelical church by Riccardo Mazzanti, 1901
Lungarno Torrigiani
Florence, January 2017

“Just a stone's throw from the picturesque Ponte Vecchio in the Oltrarno quarter (meaning ‘the other side of the Arno’) is the little Chiesa Luterana, built to serve the German-speaking Lutheran community of Florence. Established in 1901, the diminutive chapel was designed by architect Riccardo Mazzanti. It's a slender brick building iwth a rose window and white marble splashes of decoration on the exterior, while the simple interior is rather austere, in keeping with the traditional churches of northern Europe. Wedged between apartment buildings and fronting a little piazza, it's near the Pitti Palace but is a far cry from the opulence of that palazzo. The little church ministered to the predominantly Swiss and German protestant immigrants who wanted a church service in their native language. It has since been ‘Italianized’ but retains some services and events in the German language. The some church community hosts weekly concerts every Wednesday evening from April through October, utilizing the organ and international artists for spiritual music and fellowship.” (Lutheran Evangelical Church, Summer in Italy)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Catalan Folk Song

“La canción popular catalana” (The Catalan Folk Song) by Miguel Blay, Palau de la Música Catalana, Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, Barcelona
“La canción popular catalana” (The Catalan Folk Song) by Miguel Blay, 1907
Palau de la Música Catalana by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, 1908
Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt
Barcelona, March 2017

“In 1905, Blay was approached by Modernist architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner to create a group of sculptures for the facade of El Palau de Musica Catalana, a concert hall in Barcelona. The building is known for its Art Nouveau style and is made up of a mix of glass, metalwork, sculpture, and ceramic mosaics. Miguel Blay created a group of sculptures titled “La canción popular catalana” (The Catalan Folk Song) for the facade of the building. The sculptures depict different characters of varying social classes: children, peasants, sailors, etc. In the center, there is a female figure that represents the Catalan song. Above her the patron saint of Barcelona, Sant Jordi, stands holding a sword, protecting her and the other sculptures. It is said to show that people of all classes can enjoy the traditional Catalan music.” (Miguel Blay, Wikipedia)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Palazzo Pubblico

Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia, Piazza del Campo, Siena

“The Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) is a palace in Siena, Tuscany, central Italy. Construction began in 1297 and its original purpose was to house the republican government, consisting of the Podestà and Council of Nine. The outside of the structure is an example of Italian medieval architecture with Gothic influences. The lower story is stone; the upper crenelatted stories are made of brick. The facade of the palace is curved slightly inwards (concave) to reflect the outwards curve (convex) of the Piazza del Campo, Siena's central square of which the Palace is the focal point. The campanile or bell tower, Torre del Mangia, was built between 1325 and 1344 with its crown designed by the painter, Lippo Memmi. The tower was designed to be taller than the tower in neighboring rival Florence; at the time it was the tallest structure in Italy. It was fitted with a mechanical clock during the mid-14th century. Its design has been used as the basis for several other campaniles including the Dock Tower in Grimsby, England constructed in 1852 and the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower in the Edgbaston campus of the University of Birmingham (completed in 1908).” (Palazzo Pubblico, Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Moretto da Brescia

The Madonna and Child with Saints by Moretto da Brescia, National Gallery, London
“The Madonna and Child with Saints” by Moretto da Brescia, 1545
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
London, September 2016

“The saints include Saint Jerome (with his lion) and Saint Joseph (with his flowering staff). The original destination of this altarpiece was probably a chapel or Franciscan church dedicated to Saint Bernardino, who is shown with his monogram of the name of Jesus (IHS) and three mitres at his feet. The mitres are inscribed with the three bishoprics of Urbino, Siena and Ferrara which the saint refused to accept. Also represented are Saint Francis (showing his stigmata), Saint Nicholas of Bari (holding three gold spheres), Saint Catherine of Alexandria (accepting a ring from Christ, in allusion to her vision of a ‘mystic marriage’), and Saint Clare holding the monstrance.” (The Madonna and Child with Saints, The National Gallery)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Snake Bag

Snake Bag by Ai Weiwei, Ai Weiwei Libero exhibition, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
“Snake Bag” by Ai Weiwei, 2008
“Ai Weiwei. Libero” exhibition
Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza degli Strozzi
Florence, January 2017

“The most compelling installation, however, deals with the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 in which thousands perished. Ai has funnelled his outrage into several composite sculptures in the years since embarking on his own investigation into the disaster, an enquiry that has blamed the guilty and contributed to his ongoing harassment by the authorities. In Snake Bag (2008), 360 identical backpacks stitched together into a serpentine line stretching across an entire wall recalls the 5,000 schoolchildren killed in the tragedy when the metal supporting new buildings buckled and collapsed.” (Up, up Ai Weiwei, The Florentine)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Le Théâtre Rond

Le Théâtre Rond, The Round Theatre, Place Gabriel Kaspereit, Quartier Saint-Georges, Paris
Former “Le Théâtre Rond” (The Round Theatre)
Place Gabriel Kaspereit
Quartier Saint-Georges, 9e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Monday, April 24, 2017

Palazzo Salviati

Palazzo Salviati, Venice
Palazzo Salviati, Dorsoduro
Canal Grande, (Grand Canal)
Venice, September 2013

“Palazzo Salviati is a palace on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro district (or sestieri) in Venice, northern Italy. It is situated between the Palazzo Barbaro Wolkoff and Palazzo Orio Semitecolo. The building was built as a shop and the furnace of the Salviati family between 1903 and 1906, designed by the architect Giacomo Dell'Olivo. The company was founded in 1859 by Antonio Salviati. In 1924 the building underwent a major renovation, which involved the addition of an extra floor and the placement of a large mosaic façade. Structurally the façade is relatively simple, with arched doors on the first and third floors and matching arched windows on the second floor. Attention is drawn to the mosaic figures that cover most of the façade, with a very large mosaic in the center of the building and smaller mosaics over the doors on the first floor and at the top of the third.” (Palazzo Salviati, Wikipedia)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

European Robin

European robin, 9/11 Memorial Garden
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair
London, September 2016

“Robins are one of the only UK birds to be heard singing in the garden on Christmas day. This is because they hold their territories all year round, warning off intruders with song. Males may hold the same territory throughout their lives, and will even attack a bundle of red feathers or their own reflection if they mistake it for another individual. Their melodious voices, along with their cheeky attitudes, have endeared robin red breasts to the British public, and in 1960 they were crowned the UK's national bird.” (Robin, BBC Nature)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chiesa del Sacro Cuore

Chiesa del Sacro Cuore (Church of the Sacred Heart) by Lando Bartoli, 1962
Via Capo di Mondo
Florence, January 2017

“Ludovico da Casoria, a Franciscan priest, founder of the Congregation of Frati Bigi, had the church built between 1874 and 1877, on the model of San Salvatore al Monte. The church is situated in Firenze (Campo di Marte). In 1941 it became a parish church and the building was completely restructured by the architect Lando Bartoli between 1956 and 1962. For the extremely modern bell tower the architect was assisted by Pier Luigi Nervi. There is a stained glass window of the Resurrection by Marcello Avelani, bronze doors and ceramic saints by Angelo Biancini, mosaic Stations of the Cross by Giovanni Haynal, a cruzifix by Umberto Bartoli, a 16th-century Madonna and Child, a Last Supper by Giovanni Stradano and the Apparition of the Sacred Heart by Antonio Ciseri (1880).” (Sacro Cuore, Wikipedia)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Doctor Robert Monument

Doctor Robert monument by Josep Llimona i Bruguera, Plaça de Tetuan, Barcelona
Doctor Robert monument by Josep Llimona i Bruguera, 1910
Plaça de Tetuan
Barcelona, March 2017

“The square's central area contains the Doctor Robert monument by the sculptor Josep Llimona. Robert was a professor of internal pathology at the University of Barcelona. He was appointed mayor of Barcelona in 1899 and elected to the Spanish Parliament in 1901. The monument was built in Plaça de la Universitat between 1904 and 1910, commissioned by mayor Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The monument was dismantled in 1940 during the Franco dictatorship and moved to Plaça de Tetuan in 1985.” (Plaça de Tetuan, Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Italian Clock

Italian Clock by Giuseppe Valadier, Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica), Piazza San Pietro Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City, Rome
Italian Clock (with the Rome time) by Giuseppe Valadier, 1785
Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica)
Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter's Square)
Città del Vaticano (Vatican City)
Rome, April 2013

See also: Oltremontano

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Goose Wing Entrance

The Goose Wing Entrance, London
The Goose Wing Entrance, Cross Bones graveyard
Union Street, The Borough, Southwark
London, September 2016

“In John Constable's vision, The Goose is the spirit of Cross Bones, protecting her outcast children. Local artist-woodworker Arthur de Mowbray drew on this vision, and the Invisible Gardener's idea for ‘a cloister’, to create this stunning entrance structure, which symbolises The Goose protectively spreading her wing over visitors as they enter the garden. It serves both as a shelter and as a rainwater harvester; rain runs down through timber gutters into the pond. Carved into the beams, you can read one of the poems from The Southwark Mysteries - ‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers...’ - which is recited at all the vigils, as well as John's dedication to those buried at Crossbones. Arthur also created the timber seats built into the drystone wall beds, and our garden tool shed, known as The Clink, complete with a carving of a gargoyle of the Bishop of Winchester spitting water onto a goose's back. All the wood used in Arthur's creations was sustainably sourced personally by him.” (History, Crossbones)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tacca's Fountain

Fountain with sea monsters by Pietro Tacca, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence
Fountain with sea monsters by Pietro Tacca, 1629
(With Bernardino Radi and Francesco Maria Bandini)
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata
Florence, January 2017

“Two bronze fountains originally destined for Livorno (c. 1629), still in a highly Mannerist style indebted to Flemish Mannerist goldsmith's work for their grotesque masks and shellwork textures, were set up instead in Piazza della SS. Annunziata, Florence.” (Pietro Tacca, Wikipedia)

See also: Sea Monsters (Livorno Daily Photo)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring), Passeig Olímpic, Montjuïc, Barcelona
Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, renovated in 1985-89
(Built as Estadio de Montjuic by Pere Domènech i Roura, 1929)
Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring)
Passeig Olímpic, Montjuïc
Barcelona, March 2017

“Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, formerly known as the Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc and Estadio de Montjuic) is a stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Originally built in 1927 for the 1929 International Exposition in the city (and Barcelona's bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Berlin), it was renovated in 1989 to be the main stadium for the 1992 Summer Olympics. The stadium has a capacity of 54,000 (67,007 during the 1992 Olympics), and is located in the Anella Olímpica, in Montjuïc, a large hill to the southwest of the city which overlooks the harbor. In 2001 the stadium was renamed after the former president of the Generalitat de Catalunya Lluís Companys, who was executed at the nearby Montjuïc Castle in 1940 by the Franco regime.” (Wikipedia)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Armani & Vuitton

Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton stores, Palazzo Taverna, Via Montenapoleone, Milan
Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton stores
Palazzo Taverna, Via Montenapoleone
Milan, November 2016

“The Palazzo Taverna is a late Neoclassical mansion in Milan, Italy, designed by Ferdinando Albertolli in 1835. It is located at 2, Via Montenapoleone, in the Porta Nuova district of the city. The building is notable in that it is reminiscent of Milan's Royal Villa and of country houses in general as the main body of the building is set back to form a courtyard next to the street. The entrance consists of an Ionic colonnade supporting a parapet. The two lateral sections have giant pilasters surmounted by triangular tympani. Today the mansion houses a Louis Vuitton store.” (Palazzo Taverna, Wikipedia)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Only Children Bench

Only Children Bench by Pablo Reinoso, Riverwalk, Westminster, London
“Only Children Bench” by Pablo Reinoso, 2016
Riverwalk, Westminster
London, September 2016

“Riverwalk is located by the river Thames, near the Tate Britain and next to Henry Moore sculpture Locking Piece, which has been on display in Riverside Walk Gardens, since 1968. In line with Stanton William’s architecture and especially in keeping with one of Henry Moore's most symbolic works, Pablo Reinoso has create two bench-sculptures in black steel. Only Children Bench, created to be used by the children as a playful area and We Watch You Too Bench, an other bench-sculpture which provides an area for quiet contemplation in the Riverwalk grounds, whose name is an amusing reference to the MI6 which is just opposite.” (Pablo Reinoso art at Riverwalk, Custot Gallery Dubai)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Maestà Tradita

Maestà tradita by Gaetano Pesce, Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence
“Maestà tradita” by Gaetano Pesce
Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Florence, January 2017

“Thought for the public area in connection with its historical, artistic and religious context, Pesce’s new sculpture will be displayed in Piazza Santa Maria Novella close to the extraordinary facade of the basilica designed by Leon Battista Alberti on a previous installation. His monumental sculpture represents a woman wrapped up in a long cloak: she is a sort of Mater Matuta (like the one at the Florence Archeological Museum), and also an archetype inspired by the Christian Maestà. Therefore, the sculpture is the contemporary echo of the very famous Madonna Rucellai – which was commissioned to Duccio di Boninsegna in 1285 by the Laudesi confraternity for their chapel in Santa Maria Novella church. At the end of the sixteenth century, it was moved to the Rucellai chapel of the Dominican church, while in the XX century, it arrived at the Uffizi Museum. The Maestà Tradita is seated on a throne that is on an high pedestal itself. However, her figure of queen and mother clearly shows signs of pain. Her cloak is also her body, her uncovered body and her nude skin. It is a grazed, scourged body and an uncovered skin exposed and marked by verbal and physical abuse and violence. A big and heavy rusted metal sphere is tied to the right foot of the woman, with a strong chain as a symbol of the slavery that thousands of women are still suffering in many countries of the world.” (Gaetano Pesce, Maestà Tradita, Museo Novecento)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Creatrix Hand

La main créatrice, The Creatrix Hand, by Michel Serraz, Notre-Dame-du-Travail, rue Vercingétorix, Paris
“La main créatrice” (The Creatrix Hand) by Michel Serraz, 1989
Church of Notre-Dame-du-Travail, rue Vercingétorix
Quartier de Plaisance, 14e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Santissima Annunziata del Vastato

Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Piazza della Nunziata, Genoa
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato
Piazza della Nunziata
Genoa, April 2016

“The church was begun by the Franciscans in 1520 in a site previously occupied by the small church of Santa Maria del Prato, belonging to the Humiliati. Works were however halted in 1537, and in 1591 the Lomellini family continued the reconstruction, directed by Taddeo Carlone. In the early 17th century the rich Baroque decoration was executed, with Andrea Ansaldo in charge of completing the works, and in particular the dome. The current Neoclassicist façade dates to 1830-1840s, designed by Carlo Barabino. The church was damaged by Allied bombings during World War II.” (Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Wikipedia)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Green Wall

Green wall, Edgware Road tube station, Marylebone Road, London
Green wall, Edgware Road tube station
Marylebone Road
London, September 2016

“The visually stunning green wall has taken just a month to install and, as well as having practical environmental benefits, is an attractive leafy addition to Marylebone Road. It features a total of 15 plant varieties crafted into a multi-coloured and patterned design. Studies across Europe and the USA have shown the potential of vegetation, including trees and plants, to trap PM10. The air quality benefits of this wall will be monitored by scientists from Imperial College London. The green wall is just one of a range of innovative and targeted measures being introduced by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to deliver cleaner air in London at places where particulate matter (PM10) pollution is highest.” (Stunning green wall unveiled at Edgware Road Tube station, Transport for London)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Art Institute of Florence

Art Institute of Florence, Piazzale di Porta Romana, Florence
Istituto d'arte di Firenze (Art Institute of Florence)
Piazzale di Porta Romana
Florence, January 2017

“The Art Institute of Florence opened in 1869 as a school of carving, was converted in 1880 to a trade school for the decorative arts, and finally became an industrial and artistic institute in 1919. Since 1924, the Institute has been located on the premises that housed the royal stables of the palace of Palazzo Pitti, very close to the Porta Romana, in the middle of a park that borders on the Boboli Gardens. The Royal Stables and its environs are located near the surviving walls of Florence. It has long been the center of controversy for being improperly used as an access point to the Boboli Gardens or as a parking lot for automobiles. It is from here that Robert and Sienna seek access to the Boboli Gardens in the novel Inferno. A project was recently approved for the improvement and redevelopment of this green space. Today, the Institute is called the Art School of the Porta Romana (Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana) and it houses the most interesting collection of plaster models in Italy, especially models of the art of the Florentine Renaissance. Over the years, 3000 plaster casts of important masterpieces of sculpture have been collected here dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. The most important models are those related to the works of Donatello and those from the collection of the Accademy Gallery.” (Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana, Florence Inferno)


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sant Francesc de Sales

Church of Sant Francesc de Sales by Joan Martorell, Passeig de Sant Joan, Barcelona
Church of Sant Francesc de Sales by Joan Martorell, 1885
Passeig de Sant Joan
Barcelona, March 2017

“One beautiful example of this is the Church of St. Francis de Sales on the Passeig de Sant Joan, one of the broad avenues leading up from the old city to the new. The church is considered the finest Neo-Gothic structure in the city, and the greatest example of the work of Joan Martorell i Montells, one of Gaudí’s teachers and an important influence on his pupil’s understanding of both surface treatment and interior space. Despite its Victorian uprightness, it anticipates in its decoration some of the wildness of Modernista decoration with which Gaudí and others would come to define late 19th and early 20th century Barcelona.” (Sant Francesc de Sales, Catholic Barcelona)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Piazza Santo Stefano

Piazza Santo Stefano, Bologna
Piazza Santo Stefano
Bologna, June 2015

Piazza Santo Stefano also known as Piazza delle Sette Chiese (Seven churches square) is a piazza of Bologna, Italy. It is a pedestrianised triangular space near the beginning of Via Santo Stefano, both of which are named after the Basilica of Santo Stefano which is located on the piazza. Often used for cultural events, flea-markets and concerts, it has porticos along both long sides (North-East and South-West) with the Basilica occupying the short (South-East) side. To the left of the Basilica is a complex of buildings joined by the powerful medieval Isolani family. From the left side you can reach Strada Maggiore (formerly the Via Aemilia) via the Corte Isolani passage which was created in renovations to the Palazzo Isolani in 1999. On the right is Palazzo Bolognini Amorini Salina, notable for its frieze with terracotta heads, and the ‘Case Tacconi’, a good example of Bolognese merchant houses of the fifteenth century.” (Piazza Santo Stefano, Wikipedia)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Lovers on Horseback

Lovers on Horseback by Sophie Ryder, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London
“Lovers on Horseback” by Sophie Ryder, 2013
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair
London, September 2016

“Ryder graduated in 1984 in Combined Art at the Royal Academy of Arts, receiving a diploma in painting. She was encouraged to develop her studies in sculpting. Most of Sophie Ryder's sculptures are of mythical creatures and humans and animals. She uses animals to explore human emotions and showing that feelings can be read.” (Sophie Ryder, Wikipedia)