Thursday, May 19, 2011


Statues are so much easier to photograph than people. You can walk round them for ages, go back at different times of the day to favourite one and capture them, frozen in time but in a different light.

I have to admit that I find public art in Ireland, in general, a bit lacking in subtlety and not to my taste. So it was a revelation to find that Italy is even better than France when it comes to statues to fall in love with.

Italy does not seem to have set off on a gallop to produce outrageous modern pieces like I have seen on the streets of Paris; though this may be seen as a criticism of a country that is still, in everyday life at least, quite conservative in its visual expressions.

But one thing I did notice is that Italian art, in all its forms, is full of angels.


I had a great chat in L'Accademia in Venice with an American couple about the personality types in one painting, where Cherubim and Seraphim smiled and played music in an eternal daze. It is possibly the sort of painting that made one of our family state baldly when asked to study for his First Communion. "D'you know something... I don't think I would like eternal life. I would find it boring."

He must have been looking at Italian art.

But one angel, the most famous of all stands out.

"The Angel of the City" by Marino Marini is a delight.
He rises to greet the day with the same joie de vivre every morning and is the most famous of the beautiful pieces that Marini made. Not possible, I know, but it would be Heaven indeed if one could photograph him at dawn.

As for the fact that angels are pure, incorporeal beings I can only assume that this is one of the naughty ones who managed to come down to Earth with success.

The Angel of the City, III