Sunday, November 22, 2009
More splendid lettering
Europe has a dizzying scale that can leave you with a staggered feeling.
Which explains why I was standing in Saint Peter's Basilica with a stiff neck last week from looking up and up and up again.
When we left the glories of Museo Vaticani and the Sistine Chapel I thought I was done staring skyward. But I'd forgotten the glories of Saint Peter's, and soon found myself gaga over the lettering on the upper edges...
How graceful the Roman lettering, black on gilt.
How perfect the spacing.
Which has me thinking back to the maps I saw on the walls of the Museo Vaticani...
The golden lettering and calligraphic swirls are the work of a master. How I would love to talk to that calligrapher!
Who was the anonymous letterer? What was his or her training? What materials did they use? Did they sketch first on the walls below the gilt and paints? And how did they think up that ornate bumblebee that decorates the Tyrrenian Sea?
When in Florence the very next day I found myself in an old, old courtyard savoring the lettering again.
This one, according to Noel, who is a Latin scholar, tells about the best families and the knights who made up the monument in 1648.
And don't you love the hand below? Doesn't it make you long to run for nibs and ink?
There is no end to the inspirations in Europe.
Already I long to visit again, this time with more time to sit and sketch and spend time making art of my own.
But I brought home pigments from Rousillon, and they are calling to me now. Off to create something this rainy Sunday afternoon at home.