Yesterday Stefano and I went to Siena, to an art exhibit examining the link between madness and art, mental disorders and creativity. The title states it clearly: “Art, Genius, Folly.” We saw works by Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Antonio Ligabue and many others…a total of 400 paintings and sculptures from the past three centuries. One that struck my fancy was a curious painting attributed to Hieronymus Bosch, the “Concert in the Egg.” (see here: http://tinyurl.com/ap95qn). Overall, an interesting exhibit, at times a bit distressing, especially the initial part, devoted to how mentally disturbed patients have been treated throughout the centuries, beginning in the Middle Ages.
The art exhibit’s official website (in Italian): http://www.artegeniofollia.it/
News in English: http://tinyurl.com/c3kjrh
Afterwards, we walked around Siena and spent time photographing my favourite piazza in the world, Piazza del Campo. It was a beautiful day, and, by noon, also quite warm, about 15° Centigrade. The piazza was half-filled with people sunning themselves, sitting or lying down on the red-brick shell-shaped slope, reading a newspaper or a book. Little kids chasing after pidgeons. Families picnicking. It was so relaxing.
On our way back to Florence, we stopped in Monteriggioni, a fortified Medieval hilltop village in the province of Siena, built in the 13th century. Monteriggioni (my new blog banner, by the way, is from a photo I took from a distance of this town’s circular walls) is extremely well-preserved and has not undergone any significant changes throughout the centuries. Thanks to Monteriggioni’s fortified walls and strategic position, its inhabitants were able to resist many attacks by the Florentines during the Middle Ages. My first photo of Monteriggioni (above) is taken just outside one of the town gates. The others (below) are inside views.
From Wikipedia I learned that the Italian poet Dante Alighieri used the towers of Monteriggioni “to evoke the sight of the ring of giants encircling the Infernal abyss”:
‘però che, come su la cerchia tonda
Montereggion di torri si corona,
così la proda che ‘l pozzo circonda
torreggiavan di mezza la persona
li orribili giganti, cui minaccia
Giove del cielo ancora quando tuona.’
-Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto XXXI, lines 40-45
‘As with circling round
Of turrets, Montereggion crowns his walls;
E’en thus the shore, encompassing the abyss,
Was turreted with giants, half their length
Uprearing, horrible, whom Jove from heaven
Yet threatens, when his muttering thunder rolls.’
-as translated by Henry Francis Cary during the years 1805–1844
Final note: this is a sad period for some myeloma list members/bloggers. Teresa’s husband (see The Beast) just passed away. My heart goes out to her and her family. Another distressing item: a friend’s husband, a myeloma patient, is in the hospital, fighting for his life, after catching some sort of resistant bug and coming down with double pneumonia. Well, I hope to have some good news soon.
And this brings me to the following. Some blog readers have asked me about my “feverfew” blood tests. Well, I haven’t had any tests since November 2008. And, since the flu season is still going strong here, I have decided that I cannot and will not risk going up to the hospital lab for blood tests right now. I have postponed having tests done until the end of this month, at least. My feverfew experiment has lasted longer than predicted, unfortunately. But…better be safe than sorry!