One Smaller, One Larger
Lucca’s walls make an ideal subject for an artist interested in the juxtaposition of clear, almost abstract, manmade forms and an ordered Nature. Built to resist cannon fire, they resisted demolition in the nineteenth century when many other cities, like Florence, pulled down their medieval curtain walls and replaced them with viali—allowing the city to spread (or sprawl) outward in modern periferie. Lucca’s walls instead became a raised promenade, and their compelling exterior image almost demanded that the city maintain a greenbelt around them, isolating them from the inevitable sprawling development beyond. It is this rapport with Nature that the walls represent, as much as their image as crown to the city, that I celebrated in my Palio for this year’s feast of S. Paolino. And it is a subject I happily return to, in various seasons, to watch the light change and the forms assert themselves against their green frame.
These are two images, the first a smaller sketch, the second larger, painted on successive summer days (note the grass was being mowed in patches from one day to the next) at around the same time, 6–8pm. The photos show the work in progress. I’m outside the northern mural circuit, looking toward the church of S. Frediano.
Bella Lucca, quanto mi manca!