Postcard from Bologna, Italy: Reflecting on fine “finestre”

Wandering under the miles of sheltering porticos lining the streets of Bologna, it is easy to miss the wonderful attention paid to the architectural details a floor above. Bolognese architecture does not treat windows as merely functional holes in the wall filled with glass, but as sculptural artistic expressions.

And, yes, that is the Mister who slipped into Edward Hopper’s plain-old-American-style-windowed “Second Story Sunlight” at a major retrospective of the artist’s works at Palazzo Fava while we were in Bologna. The contrast between the architecture surrounding us in Italy and the slices of Americana portrayed by Hopper made us cast our eyes upward with even more appreciation.

Postcard From Bologna, Italy: Yes, there was art before the Renaissance

The Palazzo Ghisilardi serves as the home of Museo Civico Medievale in Bologna. The palace dates from the period, (1446-1506), when the Bentivoglio family controlled the city. Papal politics alternately kept or swept members of the Bentivoglio family in and out of power, often resulting in assassinations of the heads of the family.

Long lines form next door at the Palazzo Fava for the excellent Edward Hopper exhibition running through July 24, but the medieval collection can be viewed peacefully and leisurely.


Postcard from Reggio Emilia, Italy: Annual photography festival stretches into July

The multiple exhibits associated with the two-month run of Fotografia Europea encouraged us to hop a train from Bologna to nearby Reggio Emilia. Numerous photography exhibitions continue in interesting venues throughout the historic center for another month as part of this 11th annual festival.

A surprising centerpiece for the photography festival was the mounting of 150 works of an American, Walker Evans (1903-1975), at Palazzo Magnani. The website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art describes Evans as:

The progenitor of the documentary tradition in American photography, Evans had the extraordinary ability to see the present as if it already was the past….

We had not expected to encounter such an extensive visual exploration of American life while traipsing through Italy; of course, neither had we envisioned the opportunity to enjoy an Edward Hopper show in Bologna, an exhibit running through July 24.