LifestylePersona March, 4th 2011 by

"Go With The Flow" By Joyce Balk

Villa Wellington- Figino

Villa Wellington – Figino

Due to lack of ‘ flow’  in Marbella at the moment I let it take me elsewhere namely to Switzerland and Italy.  There were two interesting jobs for me, one a mural in a villa at lake Lugano and the other one interior design of a hotel in Florence.  Both  beautiful places so I felt lucky to be working there.
After previous trips for preparatory works this time the executive part started. I first came to the villa at the lake to set up the mural.
The impressive, nearly one hundred years old, Liberty style villa is situated directly at the lake.  It’s  solid structure, the calmness  within, and the silence surrounding it give me a feeling of wellness . The unpolluted sound of silence, for me, is an absolute treat  and a great work environment. After one week at the villa I left for Florence.

Quite a difference of course. After the quiet setting in Switzerland I entered a vibrant city. Although  low season  there are always tourists and many fortunate students. The city stays lively twelve months a year . (and especially Saturday nights they seem to be all going out and having fun….loudly).
But all of these fresh vibes don’t  seem  to be overpowering the vibration of ancient history and art throughout  the city. Not even a deaf and/ or blind person could escape this sensation, I think.
This visit though we were so busy working that there was hardly time for cultural excursions.

But passing the Palazzo Vecchio almost every day, with it’s  copy of Michelangelo’s David statue ( what a sight for sore eyes…………..)

 I popped in quickly  to have a look at Damien Hirst’s  ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD’.  I had never seen the diamond encrusted scull for real before and I didn’t expect too much of it either. To be honest I thought it would fit very well in one of the ‘nouveau’ collections in Marbella. But we’re never too old to learn…
For the love of God is a life-sized cast of a human skull in platinum, entirely covered by 8,601 ws to flawless pavé-set diamonds, weighing a total of 1.106.18 carats. Set into the forehead is a large pear-shaped diamond. The teeth are those of the original skull which was purchased by Hirst in London, and dates back to the eighteenth century.
In the setting of The Palazzo Vecchio ( built in the late13th century, seat of the Signoria ,various town authorities and later the home of The Medici family) this scull  seems to become more inspiring.
The Dutch art historian ( and former director of the Van Abbe museum and the Stedelijk museum Amterdam), Rudi Fuchs, writing about the work in 2007 (when it was first exhibited) observed:
“The skull is out of this world, celestial almost. It proclaims victory over decay. At the same time it represents death as something infinitely more relentless. Compared to the tearful sadness of a vanitas scene, the diamond skull is glory itself

If you like you can check it out yourselves; it’s still on show in Florence until may 1st
On my way out of Florence I made a quick visit to the Palazzo Davanzati.  An ancient fourteenth century palazzo with an impressive facade, which was once the residence of the Davizzi family.
However it owes it’s name to another family, the Davanzati, who purchased it in 1578 and embellished the facade with a large coat of arms representing the crest of the dynasty.
Palazzo Davanzati is a magnificent example of a medieval Florentine house.

Although workwise this was a very interesting trip, the visit to Florence in December was more eventful. It showed me Florence in many unique ways.
First of all there was a huge amount of snow and one could only travel on foot for several days. After the city got blocked completely, tourists and locals living in the center of town started to come out at night and gazed at the beautiful statues and buildings covered in snow. It was so beautiful……..

The next day humor set in ( I never thought it existed in Florence)……….
A group of men, all doctors, lawyers, professors etc., dressed up as Santa’s, paraded the old town, throwing candy around and Christmas caroling .Terribly of key but having so much fun..and so did the audience..

And then there was the Ponte Vecchio golf event.
From the famous old bridge with all the jeweler stores , over the river Arno one was  challenged to make a hole in one  in one of the artificial greens floating on the river.  ( This must appeal to some of the Marbellans..) The river bed must be paved with golf balls by now…..
A more traditional event was the Bronzino show at the Palazzo  Strozzi.  (until jan. 21) The extremely beautiful portraits of the the Medici family and other paintings were in show in a very elegant setting. I would like to tell you more about these works of art some time.

Back at the lake side villa I am now trying to make a creative tribute……………,
Enjoying the silence, the view on the lake and the snow topped mountains…………

And what do I hear……Marbella, dry, sunny and 22 degrees
Something to look forward to !

Joyce Balk

Artist Joyce Balk

www.joycebalk.com

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest article are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Marbella Marbella website. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with the author.

4 Comments

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  • How very interesting. Your words conjure up many memories of my visit to Florence (Firenze) some years ago when I managed a few hours walking around in the intense heat of summer, en route to Montepulciano for a language course.

    Being an Italophile for some years, I go regularly several times a year to Italy to see friends around the Cesena area; and now feel after reading your desription of Florence, that it'a time for me to revisit this wonderful city and see some of the outstanding art that resides there.

    If you have any suggestions Joyce, of where to stay and then to visit I would be very appreciative….grazie mille
    Vance – oppure Vincenzo – mio nome italiano 🙂

    • I do know what you mean Vance; Florence is quite an amazing City, brimming with art of the highest order and a place alive in it’s immense history. Always worth a visit. Lucky Joyce, as she is professional artist i’m sure she gained a lot from her recent visit.
      Dario.

  • Hello Vance,
    Thank you for your comment. I'm glad to have inspired you to visit Florence again. Spring is an ideal time to do so. Some nice places to stay would be : J.K. Place,( piazza Santa Maria Novella); Howards Place and Palazzo Veccheti. And places to visit … too many to mention. Of course you shouldn't miss the Uffizi museum, Palazzo Vecchio,The palazzo Pitti, The Duomo, and the Galleria dell'Academia (with the original David).I did enjoy the Capella Medici with it's Sagrestia Nuova very much ( a Michelangelo one-man-show-). To dine I could recommend La Torre 69 (or TOWER) restaurant or Sushi at The galleria hotel and many more but I misplaced my list….

    I hope you have a wonderful stay

    joyce
    cademia

  • Hi Joyce,
    Thanks for the tips, great to have from someone who obviously knows the best places to go.
    Will next be in Italy in July so will try and pop over for a few days to take in some of the places you've recommended – especially Davide.
    Vance

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