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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Act 5

The narrative began with Act 1, scene 1, on April, 10, 2013.
To access all scenes, scroll to the blog archive at the bottom of the page.

It seems ridiculous. It is ridiculous. I am sitting in bed, looking across the hall at my camera bag, my small backpack, and my suitcase, all standing in a neat row against the wall, almost ready to be lugged to the limo that will take us to the airport ... eight days from now.

I have been planning this visit to Italy for the better part of two years now. For all that time, this trip has been the carrot at the end of the stick that is daily routine. And ridiculous as it is, I started packing a few important things several days ago. Could I be a bit excited?

My partner, seems to be grateful that I have approached the adventure with such enthusiastic obsessiveness. She knows that our flights and hotels have been booked for nearly a year. As soon as the functional windows opened for other things, I booked those too. Train passes, for example, would have expired had I ordered them too early. Ditto for city passes (museums and transit) for Rome, Florence and Venice. We have tickets for the Vatican Museums, tickets for a performance in Rome of Coppelia,  tickets for a program at a small church in Florence of famous opera arias. I have reserved a rental car, I have maps printed for every conceivable permutation of our week on the road in Tuscany and Umbria. You get the idea.

And at some point, this trip (and more specifically this blog) became an integral part of the exhibition of my recent paintings that opens in March next year, at the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham Ontario (Canada) and then travels to The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford BC in 2015. My interest in art as conversation has motivated my work in the studio, and has also become manifest in the form of this blog. While in Italy, I'll be seeking out examples of the Renaissance convention of the sacra conversazione. These won't be hard to find.

From previous visits, I am somewhat familiar with Florence and Tuscany, Umbria, and Venice. And although my most recent trip to Rome was in 1975, with eighteen teenage high school students and my then recently retired father in tow, I still retain a good deal of what I learned at that time, and between about 1970 and 2000 while teaching unnecessarily detailed art history lessons to thousands of (mostly) forbearing art students. The map will illustrate how much more there is to see, but this trip will focus on the areas I mentioned above.

So here we are in Act 5, and for the next little while, I have decided to dispense with individual scenes in favour of posts that will, for now at least, concentrate on the reality of our upcoming adventure in Italy. Who knows though? When we do arrive in Rome, Florence and Venice perhaps the characters who enlivened the first part of this blog will reappear with more insights, or perhaps in friendly barroom brawls. I am content to let the blog lead me, and together we'll find out what happens. See you in Rome in a week or so.

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Historically accurate anecdotes are especially welcome.