While in Italy I was very conscious of the absence of open garden spaces in the old cities. I really missed seeing freely growing plants. Traditionally gardens were private and enclosed within courtyards. I also saw how western ideas of beauty, in architectural terms, are based on the symmetry of the temples of ancient Greece and Rome, and that these ideas became translated to the visual arts. Having visited Pompeii and Herculaneum I also realised from those ancient ruins that decoration was extended to all surfaces of buildings especially internal, but external surfaces also.
Below is a fresco decoration in a house in Herculaenum
This next image is the idea carried to its Baroque extreme in the 'Chinese Room' in the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte in Naples.
Here are the breathtaking mosaics on the ceiling of St Mark' Basilica in Venice.
When we visited the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples I was amazed at the beauty and quality of the glassware excavated from Herculaneum. This stunning piece must have been 30cms high and in perfect condition.
It reminded me of a vase I had noticed in the apartment of our friends Renata and Elio in Naples. So I couldn't resist reworking last week's flowers in it to make an ikebana to acknowledge the history of the place.
Greetings from Christopher
26th January (Australia Day) 2013
* The title of this week's blog is the title that was given to our tour in Italy.