Diana has challenged her fellow bloggers to take time each Friday to reflect on things that we are grateful for, and most of us take the high road. I've written about many, many things that have made my life rich: my family, my friends, the many travel opportunities I've enjoyed, good health.
Today, I'm thinking with much gratitude about things that make me smile, and laugh. Alas, this is where I step down from the high road to talk about something that makes me smile because it's rather silly.
This Annunciation, by Bologna artist Pietro Faccini, hangs in Bologna's Pinacoteca, or picture gallery, and when I saw it in June, I found it so silly that I actually burst out laughing.
Instantly, I pictured this painting on the cover of a steamy, bodice-ripper novel -- Women Too Beautiful for Their Own Good, perhaps. Gone with the Baroque Wind. Women who Fly With The Angels.
The rich, fancy clothes, the extremely exaggerated movements -- all seemed too over-the-top. And what about that turtle? The turtle really intrigues. Does he represent wisdom, which is otherwise lacking here? Did the artist misunderstand "turtle-dove" and think his patrons wanted a turtle AND a dove in the piece?
But honestly, to me this painting is over-wrought, perhaps over-ripe, so much so that I couldn't resist snapping a photo to document: Good Ideas Gone Bad. (BTW, I did NOT use a flash, I never would in an art gallery.This room was very bright -- all the better to see the oh-so-lush details!)
This piece was painted in about 1600, perhaps a point where the Renaissance had been left on the stove far too long and was beginning to scorch. Perhaps Faccini should have known better, because I believe he is a serious, recognized artist whose works hang in the Louvre in Paris and in Rome's Capitoline Museums (where he has a nice sketch of a dog in a field.)
I think this particularly caught my eye because generally speaking, I'm very fond of depictions of the Annunciation. Often, they're very, very beautiful -- such as these below painted by the great master Fra Angelico.
The first, a fresco in a main corridor in San Marco in Florence, was painted around 1450. The second, an Altarpiece of the Annunciation, was painted between 1430-1432, and now hangs in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
In sum, I am always very, very grateful to Fra Angelico, for his many works that I find so very beautiful.
And, today I really should thank Faccini for making me smile, when I see his take on the Annunciation.