Saturday 28 June 2014

Presenting La Vergine e il Grifo

On Saturday, July 5th my novel, The Virgin and the Griffin, is being presented in Italian in the city where it all started….Perugia.

Indeed, the city of Perugia, as it was in 1504 and as it is today, is a key figure in the story, one of the reasons the publisher Francesco Tozzuolo asked to translate and publish my novel in Italian as La Vergine e il Grifo.

Saturday's event will be a bit more complicated than the style of book readings I am used to, but I am looking forward to it (despite my intense nervousness at delivering a presentation in Italian, yikes!) So many people who have been important to the novel will be there and for that reason alone, I am very excited.

My dear friend Letizia Mattiacci, who was the inspiration for a key character in the novel, has promised to be there with her wonderful husband Ruurd and their beautiful daughter Tea.  I am hoping that Mary Thomas Tacconi, another dear friend who first taught me to think about the unique heritage and great beauty of artisanal Umbrian textiles and ceramics, will be able to make it.

Marta Cucchia, who is continuing her family's tradition of hand-weaving at the Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti, and her mother Clara Baldelli Bombelli, a textiles historian who instructed me in the art, will also be there. When writing my novel, Marta taught me a few things about weaving while Clara gave me a wonderful overview of Umbrian textiles.

As the program at the top shows, the event begins, appropriately enough, at the Brozzetti laboratorio with a presentation on the history of Umbrian textiles.

A historian will then lead a one-hour walk through some the medieval city streets, touching on landmarks included in my novel, and we will end up at the chiostro of the great Cathedral of San Lorenzo which dominates the heart of Perugia's historic centre. An actor will read selections from the novel and I will talk (very briefly, believe me) about what inspired the novel.

As well, perhaps I'll drop a few hints about the novel I am working on now…..

Saturday 7 June 2014

Rome street art - The Crucifixion of St. Peter

I believe French street artist C215 has recreated Caravaggio's Crucifixion of St. Peter on a quiet little corner in my Rome neighbourhood. C215, whose real name is Christian Guémy, has been described as France's answer to Banksy.

As you can see below, the 1 p.m. sun is casting shadows on the art from the vines growing from around the corner.

The original Caravaggio, painted in 1600, can be found in Santa Maria del Popolo.

This portion of the painting shows the martyrdom of St. Peter by crucifixion. It is believed that Peter asked that his cross be turned upside down because it is said he did not want to appear to be imitating Christ and His crucifixion.

Fans of Caravaggio, whose full name was Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, know that he painted this fresco for the Cerasi Chapel and in 1601 painted a second work on the opposite wall of the small chapel showing The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus.

This flowering bush is just around the corner and its vines cast shadows on the street art. Below is another look down my street to the Forum of Augustus.

I apologize for the long breaks between my blog posts. Besides work, I have been busy with my novel The Virgin and the Griffin, which is being published in Italian.

Over Christmas, I met a publisher in Perugia who has had my novel translated into Italian and at this point, it is being published. Very soon, the Italian edition will be launched in Perugia and while I am excited about the event itself, I dread my role which will likely involve a reading and maybe questions and answers in Italian. Yikes!!!!