Friday, June 17, 2016

Shadowing Rilke or Crossing Paths

"Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the hierarchies of angels?" (Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?) : the opening lines  from the first Duino Elegy by Rainer Maria Rilke.

And so what has this got to do with quilting- nothing really except today when we were hanging quilts at UWC Adriatic someone mentioned the Rilke path- Rilke path ??? my  heart skipped a beat- a path that Rilke walked? Really ? Close by????- yes at the bottom of the school and as the rooms needed cleaning I had and hour and a half to walk this wonderful path, with views of Duino castle where Rilke began his Duino Elegies and spent some time at the invitation of Princess  Marie von Thurn und Taxis ( and yes the family did begin the first taxi service)- and where he walked along the cliffs. Yet again Rilke pops into my life when I least expect him to, but strangely in this last week in Italy I have been noticing angels- quite a lot of them and photographing them and well, the first elegy begins with angels.

So let me begin at the beginning. I caught the bus from Montpellier to Genoa (over nine hours because of stops) arrived late at night and had to find my hotel which was a bit of a walk with my heavy suitcase as of course it was budget. I had booked  a room with a shared bathroom but thankfully I was given a room with my own bathroom- after nine hours on a bus on a very hot day, a shower was like pennies from heaven! Then next day another 7 hours on a bus to  Venezia Mestre and then the train to Padova and then a kilometre walk in drizzling rain, to find my hotel, again budget and this time a shared bathroom. I had booked to see Capella degli Scrovegni ,Giotto's masterpiece from the early renaissance ,and something I have been wanting to see for many years. They only allow in 15 viewers at a time, for 15 minutes after you  have been dehumidified for 15 minutes. After  my 15 minutes I wished I had made a double booking - I wanted to go straight back in- but this is when I began noticing angels- Giotto painted a lot of them really, and I didn't really get good photographs of them because well I was to busy taking in this absolutely most wondrous chapel.Fifteen minutes is simply not enough despite the modest size of the chapel. The chapel is set in gardens and was once the private chapel of  Enrico degli Scrovegni who like his father was an usurer and who commissioned it to try and secure his road away from hell. Anyway it was a magic start to my Italian trip to teach in Oderzo for Cuci Service.

As you can see the Chapel is quite unassuming on the outside, so what you find on the inside is even  more magical. I really did not take a lot of photos as i wanted to enjoy my 15 minutes and try and look at all the panels that  were painted- of course I did not succeed .

I had booked to go to the Scrovegni Chapel for the first session in the morning which gave me the rest of the day in Padova to wander around and enjoy this town/city that houses the oldest university in the world and where Galileo Galilei taught.It also has the largest  piazza ( or square in Italy even though it is oval), and there was a painting of the piazza in the museum, but my photographs could not do justice to the actual size of the piazza.

I have to kind of  wonder about the perspective of the painting- it was definitely before the days of  helicopters or cherry pickers - so all I can think of, is that perhaps the  painter climbed a tower of the Basilica St Guistina. And of course I can't talk about an old Italian city without at least sharing a photo of a tower!

The Scrovegni Chapel is in a compound that actually has a very interesting museum with Roman artifacts and also a collection of paintings that belonged to a Padovan family whose name escapes me. But this is where I started noticing even more angels and even a whole room of the museum devoted to angels- an army of angels no less.

So after a delightful sojourn in Padova for a day or so and I was off to Cuci-Service to teach and  the image below are some of the linocuts that were made, which we printed and then embellished with free motion machine work.

Then it was onto Verona and meeting up with a friend , Sandra Reford, who lives there part of the year and who had offered to show me around Verona for a day. So I found another budget place on Air BNB this time on the outskirts of Verona , but an easy bus ride, and spent a day walking around Verona with Sandra. It is so  lovely to walk around a place with someone who knows a city and is passionate about it's history and has an eye for quirky details, and of course as she is an artist we are often drawn to the same things ( Sandra actually does tours in the Veneto and Umbria in case anyone is interested,simply contact her for details through  her website) And of course there were more angels and inevitably lots of madonnas. The images below are from  the Basilica di san Zeno
heaven knows what is going on in the image below- but it is part of the  iron door that has now been internalised to protect it- and because people can actually reach it , people have rubbed the belly of the woman- for what superstition I wonder?

So while this was going on I was contacted by a group in Trieste  to see if I could attend  their regional Day- well I had never been to Trieste ( so for me this is like waving a red flag) and I had not actually booked my fare back to France- so what can one do but say yes ? I am so glad, otherwise my path would not have crossed with Rilke again- and I do so wonder why he keeps popping up in my life.
Yes the photo below , is a photo of a photo, but it is a photo I have never encountered before and because it was in the Castello Duino I presume it is of Rilke in the garden somewhere.

And then the path - looking towards Castello Duino and looking the other way along the rocky cliffs.

 So what can I say? Simply another week with unexpected and surprising turns. I did do some work, but today was just a buzz walking that Rilke path- and  next week it is back to the grindstone.


Ms. said...

Rapt...I was given a copy of the elegies when too young to appreciate them by an older fellow who was courting me inappropriately at that time. i have read some of them again since and am most moved by the photograph of the photograph that may be Rilke. I think I will find my old copy and look again now that I'm seventy three. Thank you for this.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Fascinating travelogue. You share a perspective no one else I follow does. Your interest in cathedrals and chapels and these ancient cities opens a different world to me. I love following along on your travels. Thanks for sharing.