visits on art, design, architecture and literature

Tag: Francesco Nevola

Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) ‘The Courtesan Nanahito Making Tea, 1815-42’ by Francesco Nevola

Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) ‘The Courtesan Nanahito Making Tea, 1815-42’,  O-ban woodblock print; written by Francesco Nevola (sketch 05/written 31.12.2016)

A beautiful afternoon sipping a lovely green tea in a porcelain tea cup, sharing  with my readers the lovely ‘sketch 05’  sent from my contributor writer, Francesco Nevola.

photo (the Japanese gallery,London)

In this early nineteenth century print one of the most ancient of Japanese rituals is being performed: the making of tea. In contrast to the tranquillity of the ritual, its representation here is shown with singular dynamic force. The image captures the full extent of Ukyo-e elegance. The culture of the ‘floating-world’ pervaded Japanese capital, Edo, into the final years of the nineteenth century, as the nation opened up to the west. While the rich robes warn by Nanahito and the fine accoutrements she handles with such poise, all speak of time honoured traditions, this work’s composition, with its bold geometries and its stark white ground anticipate the aesthetic of western modernism, while its striking colouristic juxtapositions recall the bright brash signs of pop-art a century later. For all its apparent celebration of traditional Japanese aesthetic values, the bold structure of Keisai Eisen’s composition signals the future.

Text © Francesco Nevola

Francesco Nevola, a fabulous scholar of Piranesi

Nevola’s sketch 01 “The Sanctuary of the Tomba Brion”

Nevola’s sketch 09 “The Temple of Aphea II”

see older post on life and work of Francesco Nevola https://venetiakapernekasblog.com/2015/06/11/italyteverina-mountains-cortona-deanna-maganias-and-franciso-nevola-house-and-studio/


Aegina c.500 BC_The Temple of Aphaea II, by Francesco Nevola (sketch 09)

photo @Francesco Nevola
Francesco Nevola, a dear friend, writer and scholar of Piranesi, is contributing to the VK blog a series of sketches, this is the sketch 02. “The Temple of Aphaea II, Aegina c.500

Situated on the peak of the Saronic island of Aegina commanding a majestic view north across the sea to the Acropolis of Athens, the present 5th century BC remains of the Doric Temple of Aphaea were erected on a site previously occupied by earlier sacred sanctuaries dating back to the 14th century BC. Bronze age material remains suggest a Minoan connection for the shrine’s cult associated with fertility and the seasonal cycles.

The 2nd century chronicler Pausanias recalls that Britomaris – known in Aegina as Aphaea – was the daughter of Zeus and the Cretan Karme, whose grandfather Kharmanor purified Apollo after killing the Python that guarded the omphalos or centre of the earth – a place strongly associated with the sanctuary at Delfi. As a huntress, Britomaris was especially cherished by Artemis, so when she fled king Minos who lusted after her and cast her-self into the sea, Artemis made her a goddess. While her myth is of Cretan origin, the Aeginaetans claimed Britomaris revealed her- self to them, consequently the Goddess Aphaea was worshipped exclusively at this sanctuary in Aegina.

By the early 19th century the Temple of Aphaea had been singled out for its exceptional qualities of beauty and design by neoclassical and romantic artists on the Grand Tour. In 1811 – the same year the poet Byron was in Athens – the young Charles Robert Cockerell, a former pupil of the architect John Soane, and three decades later architect of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – collaborated with Baron

Otto Magnus von Stackelberg to remove the fallen, fragmentary pediment sculptures, and at the suggestion of the architect Baron Carl Haller von Hallerstein they were shipped abroad and sold to Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria. The magnificent sculptures that originally ornamented the east and west pediments of the Temple of Aphaea were restored at Rome by the Danish neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldesn, considered the heir to the great Antonio Canova, and are now the masterpiece of the Munich Glyptothek. It was at Rome in 1817, returning from his seven year Grand Tour, that Cockerll met Ingres who took the young architect’s portrait.

The late archaic, early classical sculptures of the temple pediments, which are most unusual for being carved in the round with striking dynamism, celebrate the achievements of two of Aegina’s greatest heroes. The first Trojan war is represented in the east pediment: here Telamon – the second king of Aegina and father of the Homeric hero Ajax – fights alongside Heracles against the Trojan king Laomedon; in the west pediment, the Second Trojan war against king Priam is represented: here the Goddess Athena is positioned centrally, and Ajax features in the carved battle scene as prominently as he does in the Illiad.

Text © Francesco Nevola

Francesco Nevola, a fabulous scholar of Piranesi.

see here older post on life and work of Francesco Nevola https://venetiakapernekasblog.com/2015/06/11/italyteverina-mountains-cortona-deanna-maganias-and-franciso-nevola-house-and-studio/

San Vito d’Altivole,Treviso_”The Sanctuary of the Tomba Brion” by Francesco Nevola (sketch 01)

Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978);                                                                                                                                                  The Sanctuary of the Tomba Brion, San Vito d’Altivole, Treviso, 1968-78



The Tomba Brion is the last of Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa’s monumental works. Here all the leitmotifs of his approach to architecture find mature expression: the modeling of architectural forms that invites comparison to sculpture, the juxtaposition of ‘poor’ materials such as cement (the principal building material here) with precious ones like coloured Murano mosaics and individually designed bronze cast fixtures and fittings; the use of reflecting pools and water courses to animate the inside light and define external transitions and boundaries. Scarpa’s idiosyncratic interpretation of modernism not only restored importance to architectural ornament, but his forms reveal a particular sensitivity to historic architectural types: Venetian Gothic, castle architecture and perhaps most unexpectedly traditional Japanese architecture. Revealing his singularly creative approach to materials, the architect’s principal works are highly respectful museum renovations in which his signature style sings in perfect harmony with the existing ancient buildings: the Renaissance Palazzo Abatellis, Palermo (1953-54); the Neoclassical Museo Canova, Possagno (1955-57); the Gothic Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona (1956-64) and the late Gothic Venetian vernacular of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (1961-63).

Text © Francesco Nevola

Francesco Nevola, a fabulous scholar of Piranesi.

see here older post on life and work of Francesco Nevola https://venetiakapernekasblog.com/2015/06/11/italyteverina-mountains-cortona-deanna-maganias-and-franciso-nevola-house-and-studio/


Toscana; Teverina mountains_Cortona: Deanna Maganias and Francesco Nevola’s house and studio

An inspiring and enjoyable driving day from Maremma to Teverina mountains to visit my my lovely friends, Deanna Maganias, a great sculptor, painter and pottery porcelain maker and her partner Francesco Nevola, a fabulous scholar of Piranesi.







Deanna’s studio is under hot steam preparation for her next art exhibition, October 2015 at the Rebecca Camhi gallery in Athens.

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My days were full with great challenging conversations over pottery, architecture and philosophy and food and fabulous italian wine; their  fabulous old house is located in a small community of a village of 4 houses ;  while many rooms and additions still remain to finish by the own hands of Francesco; hard working lovely  Francesco and Deanna; few years ago both were running an  art gallery center in Cortona, with wonderful young  artists the  Cortona, Teverina Fine Arts. where their intellect and energy contributed largely to  the regional  art community.



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Giovanni Battista Piranesi. The Grotteschi” the early years 1720 to 1750 , Ugo Bozzi Editore, Roma 2009

“The suite of etchings called by Piranesi the Grotteschi, published in 1750 in the compilation volume Opere Varie, have for more than two-hundred and fifty years eluded interpretation. Long recognised by scholars as being ‘touched by the artist’s tragic imagination’, more recent ‘attempts to reduce the Grotteschi collectively or individually, to a specific, hermetic philosophical system have met with little success…’ In this volume these four magnificent prints are viewed as pivotal works in Piranesi’s early output and a comprehensive narrative interpretation of their meaning is proposed adopting an approach, analogous to that applied by Wilton- Ely to explain the iconography of the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, or that used by Gavuzzo-Stewart in her clear penetration of the Carceri. This study which follows step-by-step Piranesi’s youthful artistic and intellectual endeavours between the Venice of Scalfarotto and Tiepolo and the Rome of Gian Battista Nolli, Giovanni Gaetano Bottari and the enlightened Corsini court proposes the Grotteschi as both testament and culmination of his first decade’s experiences. For Piranesi the years upto1750 were particularly fecund: they are marked by apprenticeships in Venice and Rome, by economic difficulties, by successes and failures, and incessant travels in search of vocational fulfilment. In following these important years we are able to trace how they contribute to Piranesi’s rapid intellectual development and to his evolution of an original, vital, graphic idiom that finds its first mature expression in the Grotteschi universally recognised as the artist’s most ‘venetian’ works. Considered through the viewing filter of the paragone the Grotteschi are presented as Piranesi’s expression of direct rivalry with the great etching masters of the past: from Mantegna, Durer and Rembrandt to Salvator Rosa, Castiglione, della Bella and Tiepolo, as well as his bid to establish his own place among their revered ranks. These works also represent the culmination and conclusion of a series of experiments, protracted over the course of a decade, in which Piranesi appears to have attempted to develop the picturesque capriccio of ruins into a type of image capable of bearing specific meaning, thereby giving visual form to his idea of ‘ruine parlanti’. In conclusion, following a close reading of the visual and textual sources that inform Piranesi’s Grotteschi, the impact of these etchings is assessed on the artist’s work of the 1760s, in particular on his only built edifice, the church of the Knights of Malta, Santa Maria del Priorato, which is the culmination of a second phase of intense creativity in the artist’s career”.  text @Francesco Nevola


all photos@VK



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