||[Jan. 15th, 2006|11:52 am]
Purchas and her friends are headed for Orvieto. It's not a place I've ever visited, but I've Googled it and looked at pictures and now I've created a version of it in my head. I hope my version isn't too far removed from the real thing.|
Unfortunately Purchas has arrived too early to bump into the painter Luca Signorelli who isn't going to be commissioned to paint his fabulous murals in the cathedral until a decade later.
Signorelli's murals depict the End of the World. They're full of muscular writhing bodies. Michelangelo saw them and they inspired his much more famous Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
I like Luca's version better.
Check him out here
Nice. One of the images (Virgin and Child with the angels, I think) is a remarkable combination of renaissance and medieval. For the rest, I shake my head in amazement at the difference a few hundred miles and a decade or so make between Italian 1490s stuff and Northern European 1480s stuff. The latter is so firmly medieval still, albeit with the wonderful new realism in portraiture.
It's remarkable how Italian painting suddenly took off.
Those Signorelli murals are still pretty startling. they must have knocked people's socks off in the 1490s
A good friend of mine (who's actually coming round to see me in about an hour) lived in Bolsena for a year, and spent a lot of time in Orvieto while she was there. She was working as a contact point for people on walking holidays in the region, and meanwhile gathering information for travel writing. So she spent a lot of time investigating the region in detail, and indeed wrote an excellent book on Bolsena itself as the fruit of her time there. If you'd like me to get her to read through the Orvieto sections, or perhaps arrange for you to be able to read some of the stuff she wrote on the area, do let me know.
O yes, thank you. That would be great- one way or the other. I'm winging it here, so it would be splendid if someone who knows the area could read what I've written and point out any howlers.
And I'd be very grateful if she would be willing to let me read her material.
I'll be starting to post the Orvieto installments in about three days' time.
My friend, Fleur, is sitting next to me right now, and would like to say this to you about Orvieto:
Hello! Yes, I'd be delighted to advise you on anything connected with Orvieto. I presume it's the Signorelli frescoes that first drew your attention to the place (or maybe just the spectacular setting), but there's much more to it than that. As you probably know, the city sits on the solidified core of an ancient volcano, and is surrounded by similar Monument-Valley type outcrops. Some say it was THE main Etruscan city and the rock is riddled with holes, caves, passageways and wells. All deeply mysterious and atmospheric! The medieval city on top is a mixed labyrinth of proud lanes and secretive alleys. It's a fabulous setting for any story. Penny and I are going to try to send you the very short chapter about Orvieto in my book now.
Thank you very much.
I knew almost nothing about Orvieto when I chose to send my characters there. Only that Signorelli had painted those frescoes in the cathedral. The name of the city came into my head and I stuck with it and I've been winging it as I have with most everything else in this novel. It's an improvisation. But it looks like I've been right in my instincts and Orvieto is full of possibilities. A hill riddled with passages and caves- I love it. Maybe I won't be doing anything much with the information immediately, but I think this novel is almost certainly the first in a series and that my characters will be returning to Orvieto again and again.
I really look forward to getting the chapter from your book.