In looking over drafts for posts I’d always meant to publish I found a few that seem to have been completed. Now I’m wondering why I haven’t put them up. This particular item was written just was after our two week holiday driving around Sicily in May of 2011. We had been to Palermo several times during our four years in Italy but never beyond. Our trip took us to Trepani on the western tip of the Island and along the south coast to Catania on the east. A stop in Agrigento included a stay at a wonderful bed and breakfast with a terrace view of the Valley of the Temples.
A New Antiquity
It may seem strange for this ancient and fragmented site to be the venue for an exhibition by a modern artist but given both his style and medium it came as no surprise that the late Igor Mitoraj’s mammoth bronzes both fitted and matched their surroundings. I’ve spoke once before of Mitoraj’s San Giovanni Batista in Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli e Martiri in Rome, a beautiful but disturbing piece. There he was working with the whiteness of marble – in Agrigento his work was in bronze.
The shades of the metal – burnished browns, dull greens and earth shades – reflected and melded into their surrounds. Like the flowers around them they were highlighted by the intense southern sun or silhouetted against a bright blue sky. Mitoraj’s subjects, style and use of bronze again seemed to be at one with the surroundings. .
Though his figures were all mythological his chief inspiration was the Icarus myth – the failed attempt by man to fly brought down by his own foolishness.
But Mitoraj’s Icraus figures had a certain majesty to them and often they seem to have been brought to earth by the failure of the world around them to understand their aspirations more than their own foolhardiness.
Most of Mitoraj’s work have what has been termed “echos of antiquity” and he himself acknowledged that he looked back at the roots of Classical sculpture and painting in his work. But he maintained that he saw them through modern eyes and as the fragments that they have often come down to us in.
Looking back on the photos and remembering the visit it’s hard to believe that these are not remnants of one of the many civilizations that colonize, built, fought over, destroyed and rebuilt Agrigento over the past two thousand years.
On this day in 1956: Fortran, the first modern computer language, is shared with the coding community for the first time.