Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hiroshige in Rome

Museo del Corso Rome

With the warm weather, along with the swallows, friends flock to Tuscany. For the past few weeks I've been enjoying friends - neglecting art.

I met up with Helen and Anni in Rome on Friday and joy oh joy, discovered a fantastic Hiroshige exhibition. Months ago I started a sketchbook devoted to Hiroshige's nature prints, copying them in watercolour from the Internet, trying to learn the secrets of his composition and colour.

Watercolour after Hiroshige

I came face to face with an original print of these fishes along with two of his prints that inspired paintings by Van Gogh. Van Gogh's oils are in Amsterdam, apparently too fragile to move, but high tech reproductions are displayed alongside Hiroshige's prints Bridge in the Rain and Flowering Plum Tree. Was Van Gogh as dizzy with excitement as I when he saw these prints? I wouldn't be surprised. It really was almost too much to take in.

By the time I had peered at every one of the 200 prints, I was spinning out. So little time, so much to try to absorb and remember. There was also an excellent video of the traditional process of Japanese prints and a display of tools, blocks and pigments.

Most of this collection was donated to the Honolulu Academy of Arts by novelist James A. Michener. The catalogue was expensive and the quality of reproduction disappointing but it is enough to refresh my memory when I continue my studies of Hiroshige.

When the Rome exhibition ends on June 7 it moves to London. Not to be missed!

Rome was as fascinating and beautiful as ever and we stayed in a delightful little apartment in the old Ghetto just steps away from the ancient Portico D'Ottavia.

As usual I didn't find enough time for sketching.

May was a wonderful month. I met warm, enthusiastic and TOTALLY DELIGHTFUL blogging friend, Lin Fry - View from the Oak for lunch and a stroll around Orvieto. Sadly no time for painting but Lin was on a painting holiday so I imagine we will be enjoying her Italian watercolours for the rest of the year.

Then I had the joy of driving to the little Tuscan town of Monterchi with a favourite (and brilliant!) Australian artist, Deborah Russell to finally see Piero della Francesca's masterpiece fresco Madonna del Parto (Pregnant Madonna). Thanks Deb, it was Bliss!

Now it's time to get back to work.


Rose Welty said...

So glad you are back, I missed you! But, it does rather sound like a wonderful time....

Felicity said...

Sounds absolutely wonderful - and you met Lin too! What fun!

Jeanette said...

Lucky you, to have all those sites and sounds to take in. The exhibition sounds wonderful, I wish I could see it in person.

The old Rome would be a little piece of heaven for me, as I can immerse myself in history for days.

Sounds like you had an amazing time. Good for you!

Joan said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the exhibit and fun meeting friends!!! I wish I could have walked around Orvieto with you and Lin. She and I will have to get together one of these days as I travel up or down the east coast here.

Judybec said...

nice -- it sounds so wonderful meeting friends and seeing the sights!
saw your picture on Lin's flickr and had to visit to see what you've been up to.
Love the little Fiats and all your wonderful experiments!

"JeanneG" said...

So nice to have other artists to bond with.

vivien said...

oh that all looks so wonderful

lovely work in the watercolour and sketchbook :>)

and I'm so envious! Hiroshige and Rome ..... sigh

great to have you back :>)

Anonymous said...

Oh! So envious of the Hiroshige show! But also enormously pleased that you saw it and can report back to us droolers!

herhimnbryn said...

What a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

We too went to Monterchi to see Piero della Francesca's a matter of fact one of the reasons we did our Tuscany trip last year was to see much os his work starting in Siena and ending in Pesaro (sp) was the fish!!!!


Robyn said...

Rose - I've been missing your posts too.

Felicity - It was fun, and Lin was just as she always is, happy, enthusiastic, delightful.

Jeanette - The only thing I hate about Rome is that there is never enough time to do it justice.

Joan - I'm sure Lin would love to meet up with you too.

Judybec - I usually manage to avoid photos, particularly at the beginning of summer when I haven't been walking or swimming for months. I got caught out this time ;)

Jeanne - It wonderful how the rapport is instant when one meets another artist.

Vivien - Thanks :) Maybe we'll meet in Cornwell one day. It's on my list.

Dinah - Sorry, I haven't been in touch before this. I'm still captivated by all those prints.

HH&B - It was wonderful but maybe I'd swap it all for your wonderful new studio.

Jil - Hi. You've probably managed to see more of the Piero's than I. Nice to know there's more out there though.

Lindsay said...

Robyn I adore Hiroshige and you must have been in heaven.

Anonymous said...

Great images from around Portico d'Ottavia. I used to like to walk around there. It was like a village in that street when I lived in Rome. Poeple all used to go into a little pastry shop and walk around munching their pastries.

Robyn said...

Wendy - That area still has the charming village atmosphere.

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