Florence – Massacio’s Trinity

University staff have decided to go on strike so we have decided to skip Venice for a couple of days and see Florence. Have not been here for years because of all the low life but despite that you just have to stand in awe at the sites.  Santa Maria Novella is first port of…

Torcello Cathedral

Torcello. If you ever come to Venice you will be bathed in some of the most sumptuous renaissance, baroque, modern and contemporary art imaginable. But if you leave without visiting Torcello you will not have properly treated your soul. Whichever myth of Venice and the visitations of the hun you are prepared to believe or…

Pamplona Cathedral

Pamplona. Famous or infamous for its bull run in early July, when six bulls are released in the town and run through the streets to the bull ring. A bonkers cruel tradition (as is bullfighting) which the council would like to see as a minor distraction to an otherwise very interesting city. The capital of…

Casa Milà – Barcelona

Barcelona is a great city to visit, especially since it’s rejuvenation following the 1992 Olympics. It is a dream for followers of modern architecture and public art. There are so many iconic buildings to visit, but unfortunately long queues so it is worth being organised and plan ahead. La Pedrera or the Casa Milà was…

Narbonne

Narbonne is originally a Gallo Roman town on the canal de La Robine but also has a significant historic medieval and baroque centre. The cathedral of St Just et St Pasteur is particularly interesting comprising a choir, sanctuary, and apse ambulatory only. The gothic choir is stunning though and at over 130 feet high matches…

Lagrasse – SW France

Lagrasse is an artist’s delight with views around every corner. It is an old Cité and its Abbaye was one of the richest and important in Medieval France, founded by the authority of Charlemagne, no less, in the ninth century. It was given much land and concessions as a Benedictine house and had a very…

More on The Forest Fire

More on the The Forest Fire, my Painting of the Month, by Piero di Cosimo in The Ashmolean, Oxford Much has been written of this Renaissance masterpiece. The gallery notes attributes the theme to a reading of De Rerum Natura (on Nature), an epic first century poem by the Roman, Lucretius. The theme of the…

Lanzarote – César Manrique

César Manrique, more than anyone else, is responsible for the low rise, consistently welcoming, settlements on Lanzarote. His influence as architect & politician is felt across the island; the low rise white plastered houses with green or blue window furniture are the norm. Born in Arricife in 1919, he studied architecture and art in New…

Cluny Abbey – Cathy Oakes

Cluny Abbey reminds me that I have not said or written much about romanesque art for a while, which is a shame. It was one of my favourite areas of historical architecture. I believe, also, that it was the monasteries and the romanesque building and sculptural programme which allowed Europeans to take the first tentative…

Gregynog Wedding

Gregynog Hall, near Newtown in Mid Wales was the venue for a very enjoyable wedding ceremony on Saturday. The weather was wonderful which made for an especially great day for everyone present. Gregynog is interesting for its architecture, being one of the earliest houses in the U.K. to be constructed in concrete. The decoration is…