Friday, 15 May 2009

Times have been rather crazy lately.

I went to Arezzo to see the Della Robbia exhibition and to take some pics for my upcoming paper. I had some rather extensive plans but they were cut short by the fact that I left my mouse at I Tatti. I have this touchpad thingy on the lappy but I hate it. I've grown up with mice and I am used to them. Tablet is fine, too, although when I used one a few years ago (before it was appropriated by the Real Graphics Guy), I got weird looks for sticking the stylus in my hair, it's bigger than a normal pencil.
But, I'm digressing. I Tatti closes at six, it meant being back from Arezzo at five to manage to get up there, which meant taking the 1622-ish train the latest. I decided to skip the house of Vasari, then, and see only the exhibition, the Sta Maria a Gradi and whatever else the town puts in my way. And Sephora for some cheaper package of Strivectin, the Florentine Sephora sucks (1).
The Arezzo museum houses a wonderful collection of majolica ware and it's worth visiting only for this. The Della Robbia exhibition was nice, I discovered a lunette depicting Saint Birgitta with two flagellant monks, rather an interesting thing since I didn't know about the lunette nor about any connection of the Brigittines with flagellants. I'll check that.
The pieve is interesting. All crooked; it was being built in several phases
and the folks didn't have the same concept of symmetry as we have today. Or, anything. And the pillars are off. Not vertical at all. It was because the pillars and outer walls were usually built at the same time and then joined by the vault or trabeated ceiling as in this case and meantime the terrain might move.

The facade seems not to fit the church – only the central portal is placed symmetrically within the arch but not in the centre of facade. (The rosette window is placed centrally.)
The upper tiers with colonnades don't have any module related to anything. Or as far as I can see - the lower row has 13 arcades, the one above – 25. The visual discord is unsettling - it's small enough to be barely perceptible but it does exist, the superposition that is expected is 'off'. The uppermost storey is trabeated, the gallery contains 32 columns and 31 intercolumnary spaces. Again, the vertical continuity of the intercolumnar fields is broken.

The effect of movement is further enhanced by asymmetrical disposition of the facade opening. The Cistercian-inspired group of nine windows(two double windows flanking a central rosette. In the storeys above, one-bay windows are placed on vertical axes with the lower storey windows, those in the third story being taller.From inside, the pattern is much clearer than from outside where it is partly hidden by the array of columns which is not symmetrical with the window pattern. Or the windows are not symmetrical with columns?

(To be continued.)

(1) I don't look my age. I never said it's genetics. And Strivectin sometimes comes in some trial or travel packages that are cheaper than the standard ones.

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