De verba “inspiratio”

Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Piazza del Comune, Assisi

That’s Latin for “about the word inspiration”. This’ll be brief I swear. For me, it’s more than just those like mood boards that people create. I feel like when I see this word I take it literally. It is a combination of two words in, meaning in or into, and spiratio, which comes from the verb spirare meaning to breath out or exhale. Whenever I come across a Greek sculpture, or a Roman painting, or a passage in an ancient text, or a fragment of a mosaic or vase, I do my best to not alter its purpose and powerful energy that it creates. They act as my inspiration, not just because I like it, but because these objects continued to thrive and inhale and exhale. Whenever I approach a work of art in this more passive state of mind, the piece can actually have a conversation with me rather than me imposing my views into it. With that said, it’s quite interesting what artwork from the past can say about the present.

I am FINALLY in Assisi after a week of geeking out and not-crying at the beautiful sculptures, paintings, drawings, and architecture that are so abundant in Florence. WOW wow wow wow. Really words cannot describe the feels. Since I am all about Greco-Roman, surprisingly the Renaissance works, though I have learned in school, I never really sat down to look at them and hear them. This past week I had the chance to see some amazing works by my boy Lippi, Michelangelo and Leonardo. To stumble upon some serious capolavori in situ is a joy so pure.

Madonna with Child and Saints (or Pala de’ Nerli) by Filippo Lippi, 1485-1488, oil on canvas

In situ. This Latin phrase meaning literally “on site” refers to something that remains in the location in which it was complete. I feel like with most of the artwork we see nowadays, the work is complete in the artist’s studio and then exhibited either in a gallery or museum. I am particularly interested in works in situ because the work itself is not the only thing that is taken into consideration. This means that when I saw this insanely luminous painting by Filippo Lippi at Santo Spirito in Florence, the frame, the predella, the light, the position in the basilica, all these elements I got to absorb while quietly gawking at a literal master. He somehow became acquainted with light and could replicate that shimmer through painting. As I was looking at the other paintings in the basilica, I kept looking back at Lippi and seeing how the colors glowed so well compared to the other artists’ work.

Mind you I was only in Florence for 5 days before heading to Assisi for an artist residency, and I did not get a chance to see everything, but what I did see was extraordinarily captivating. It was interesting just walking around the city and seeing the work that spoke to me. And then I would sit in front of it and just listen. I couldn’t even draw them. I think that’ll have to be for the next time I go to Florence (which, let’s be honest, is totally happening in a year). Here are some images I took throughout my short and visually stunning trip to Florence! I can’t wait to start drawing and painting and wandering the streets of Assisi!

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