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Borsheim Art Newsletter:

by Kelly Borsheim copyright 10 December 2009

    CONTENTS:
  1. New Drawing: Borgo degli Albizi - Firenze, Italia
  2. Italian Street Painting
  3. Save the Date: Hawaiian Workshop Sept 4-11, 2010
  4. Tabernacoli Fiorentini
  5. Lana Thompson: artist and gallery owner
  6. Blog Highlights: Watch the carving of a new marble sculpture
  7. Subscription Info.

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[devotional art]

A tiny tabernacle: in this rare case
serves as a donation slot for money to feed the homeless
Via Di Mezzo, Florence, Italy
All photos by Kelly Borsheim

Dear Art Lover,
[drawing charcoal pastel art]
I hope that you are enjoying all that the seasons have to offer. I myself have been carving stone and painting portrait commissions, as well as enjoying all of the art events that I have been invited to attend.

I am also missing Italy. Borgo degli Albizi is one of my favorite streets in central Florence. I rode my bike down that street often on my way home or into "centro." I like the variety of shops along this street and the stone buildings in the ever-changing light. And so, I would like to introduce to you my latest charcoal and pastel drawing of a couple walking in a nighttime rain down Borgo degli Albizi.
[Updated: 14 December 2009: This drawing has sold to a private collector in California.]

Also new is that the prices for my original drawings and paintings, as well as sculpture are all posted online on one convenient reference page:
www.borsheimarts.com/pricelist.htm

As it turns out, many people tell me that they find my work as a madonnara fascinating. And so, I have just put up a page on my site (in the painting section) to show you a little bit about the street paintings that I have created over the last couple of years in Florence. Check it out at:
borsheimarts.com/streetpainting.htm

[birds of Paradise painting]

-----------------------------------
SAVE THE DATE: September 4 - 11, 2010

Escape with me to a tropical paradise in a resort in Kona, Hawai'i. Yes, Hawai'I, this time! I have been invited to teach art there and am putting the final touches into a great workshop that I will teach on the Big Island. I decided on those September dates so that Americans may take advantage of the Labor Day Weekend, but also to allow me some time to finish up my summer in Italy.

I will be sending out a separate e-mail about this opportunity a little later on, but start thinking about hula, art, flowers, volcanoes, and the ocean. And lots of color and Nature!

--------------------------------
Tabernacoli Fiorentini (Florentine Tabernacles)

Italy often strikes me as the land of devotion (of many kinds!) and so it made sense for me to share some of that with you in this Christmas newsletter. One cannot spend much time in Florence before noticing the “tabernacoli fiorentini” – Florentine tabernacles. They are everywhere, about 1200 in total, and in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

One of my favorite tour guides is my Florence-born friend Simone. I do not always believe every story he tells me, but he has a way of presenting much of Florence’s history in a manner that makes me think and sometimes laugh.

One evening on our way to what he calls the best brewery in all of Firenze, he told me about the ‘tabernacoli fiorentini.’

At some point in history, someone noticed that going to church helped to spread the plague. It seems that a large group of people congregating indoors was not an effective way to reduce the spread of contagious diseases. Any church go-er believes that NOT going to church just will not do, so artists and architects were asked to come to the rescue. Thus, shrines depicting the Madonna, often with child or the entire sacred family, were built on the outside of churches, and often on the corners of the streets to allow people to worship out in the fresh air.

Or, as Simone put it: “I tabernacoli furono istituiti perchè la peste nelle chiese fiorentine era responsabile di molti contagi e allora fu deciso di celebrare le messe sulla strada, negli angoli con i tabernacoli che dovevano rappresentare la Madonna” [“The shrines were established because the plague in the Florentine church was responsible for many infections and it was then decided to celebrate Masses on street corners with the tabernacles that were to represent the Madonna.”]

Other sources say this form of devotional art preceded Christianity. Originally, these shrines were “temples with sacred images of the house or protectors of the wayfarers. The custom was then maintained with the emergence of Christianity.”

Some of the art inside these windows is good stuff. Other tabernacles are more like folk art, what I might call heartfelt, if lacking in technique. Each in its way is worthy of cherishing. I was surprised at how often people still place fresh flowers and objects in these tabernacles. It was not until I began to photograph the tabernacoli fiorentini that I realized just how difficult it is to really see these devotional artworks.

Florence I find challenging to photograph because the buildings are so close together that light can be elusive. And there is so much glare in the plastic or glass coverings of the shrines that one sees reflections of architecture more than the art inside. Graffiti surrounds many tabernacoli but I have never seen graffiti ON an actual shrine. I feel glad that taggers have some sort of honor code. I include here some of my images with addresses when I remember them. Over the last two decades a group called “Friends of Florentine Museums” has been restoring these devotional artworks throughout the Renaissance City. Enjoy.

[devotional art]

This is the church Simone showed me.
This 'tabernacolo fiorentino' is located between
the Arno River and the Porta San Frediano.
From the Porta, follow the wall to the Arno and you cannot miss her.
San Frediano zona, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

[devotional art]

You can see the Porta San Frediano on the right.
Zona San Frediano, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]


San Frediano zona, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Spada, Restored 1995, the city decorated for Christmas
'tabernacolo fiorentino', Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Spada, Restored 1995, lit, but not overly
'tabernacolo fiorentino', Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Spada (detail)
'tabernacolo fiorentino', Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Spada (detail)
'tabernacolo fiorentino', Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Vigna Nuova (on right)
near Piazza C. Goldoni, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Vigna Nuova (on right)
near Piazza C. Goldoni, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

1714 by GiuseppeMoriani, Restaurato 1995
Borgo La Croce, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

1714 by GiuseppeMoriani, Restaurato 1995
Borgo La Croce, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

holes in the windows allow the fresco to breathe
1714 by GiuseppeMoriani, Restaurato 1995
Borgo La Croce, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

not far from Piazza Salvemini and Standa
Via Pietra Piana, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

one of the more beautiful bas reliefs I have seen
but could not find the artist's name
Via Pietra Piana, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

I included this image because I rarely see
women in fur coats depositing trash in America.
Via Giovanni Da Verrazzano, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

'La Sacra Famiglia'
Affresco Di Giovanni Mannozzi 1590-1636
Via Giovanni Da Verrazzano, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Tabernacolo near Teatro Verdi
Via Ghibellina, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Catty-corner from this tabernacolo is Pozzo Divino
a wine enoteca owned by my friend Pino,
and where I have exhibited my art before
I understand that his place used to hold prisoners
destined for death in the nearby Bargello. Via Ghibellina, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

I love the bikes! near Zecchi Art Supply and the Duomo
Via dello Studio, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Tabernacolo of the Madonna - lovely
Via dello Studio, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Chiesa
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Chiesa
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

You may see again the holes in the window to help the art
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Going UP past the Annigoni Museum
Via di Belvedere, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

This decorative gate protects and obscures.
Via di Belvedere, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Note the unusual lines of light. I have yet to discover the origin of these reflexions. Catene?
Via San Agostino
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Another view of the light and tabernacle
Via San Agostino
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Devotional Art
'tabernacolo fiorentino', Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Fresco in an arched tabernacle
Devotional art, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

But . . . perhaps the lack of light and visibility protect the outdoor art?
Via dei Preti
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via dei Preti
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via Maurizio Bufalini (close to Duomo)
the art of devotion, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via Maurizio Bufalini
'Madonna col bambino', Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via Maurizio Bufalini (with the Duomo reflected)
Madonna and Child art, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Sometimes one must look way UP for inspiration. Via dei Geppi
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via dei Geppi
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

'In Memoria di Nello e Bruna Giovannini' - restored in 2000 Via Camillo Cavour, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

'In Memoria di Nello e Bruna Giovannini' - restored in 2000 Via Camillo Cavour, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

In Memoria Di Albertina Brvschi
Madonna Col Bambino By Matteo Rosselli 1578-1650
Via F. Portinari (near SMN Hospital), Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Detail of heart-shaped objects place inside the tabernacle
Madonna Col Bambino By Matteo Rosselli 1578-1650
Via F. Portinari (near SMN Hospital), Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Colonna (I think)
a bit of variety, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via della Colonna (I believe)
not a Madonna, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via dei Macci - near a pharmacy (green cross sign)
Zona Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

The old with the new, Via dei Macci
Zona Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

I liked the ghostly look of the white stone (marble?) under the reflective glass.
Madonna and Child tabernacle, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Devotional Art
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Near Casa di Dante (Dante's House)
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Corner of Borgo Pinti and the Viale
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Near the Palazzo Strozzi
Devotional art, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Devotional art
Via dell'Orto, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Ave Maria
Borgo Lorenzo, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

'tabernacolo fiorentino'
Zona San Spirito, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via del Monte alle Croci
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Vicolo dei Malespini
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Maybe: Costa di San Giorgio
up the road from the Annigoni Museum, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Sad to see things casually draped over devotional art
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Outside of the Porta Romana
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Encroaching Shadows on the tabernacle
Via Matteo Palmieri, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

One of my favorites . . .
Via Ricasoli, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Via dei Rustici
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Corner of Via dei Pilastri and Borgo Pinti
Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

The only dragon I have ever seen, depicted with St. George, I suppose.
Via dei Pepi e Via dei Pilastri, Florence, Italy

Modern Tabernacolo Fiorentino

[devotional art]

Stelleconfuse is an Italian street artist from Florence
Location: near Via de' Bardi, Florence, Italy

[devotional art]

Stelleconfuse is an Italian street artist from Florence
Location: near Via de' Bardi, Florence, Italy

Interested in learning more about ‘tabernacoli fiorentini’? Join the Facebook Group - Tabernacoli

When in Florence, Italy, contact the “Associazione Culturale Florence Oltrarno” and ask for a tour specifically for this hidden but invaluable art form.

------------------------------
Lana Thompson: A Tribute

[devotional art]
This newsletter is dedicated to my friend Lana Thompson, who lost a three-year battle with leukemia in November. Lana and her husband Joe Mole ran a gallery in La Grange, Texas, which featured my art, as well as the work of many other Texas-based artists. They shut down their gallery years ago so that they could focus on Lana's recovery.

Lana was a joy to be around and she also created devotional art. I include a few images here of her work, sent to me by her brother-in-law and one of her collectors, Richard Mole.

"The Virgin of Bourbon Street" is one of her many works of fabric art and hangs on a wall. The other three images are of two tabernacle types of constructions that Lana created for Richard and are definitely Italy-inspired. Lana studied many of the symbols and imagery of ancient cultures. I am honored that her husband Joe gave so many of these interesting books to me for use in my studio.

If you would like to read more about Lana, her poetry and art, please read my blog dedication on 30 November 2009.


[sculpture assemblage art] [shrine art] [devotional art]

----------------
Blog Highlights:

Watch the progress of my largest marble carving to date. “The Gymnast” starts here:

http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.com/2009/12/marble-carving-gymnast.html

Merry Christmas to you and enjoy all of the other seasonal celebrations, including the Winter Solstice.

Rudy's Fundraiser:
www.borsheimarts.com/treachercollins.htm
artbyborsheim.blogspot.com/2008/09/savings-account.html

Thank you for reading and by all means, forward this newsletter on to anyone you think would enjoy it.

Pace (peace),
Kelly Borsheim
10 December 2009


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If you enjoy Borsheim Art News, please forward it to friends and colleagues. It comes to you about 6-8 times a year from Cedar Creek, Texas-based artist Kelly Borsheim.



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