Ravenna, in the Basilica di San Vitale, flooded with midsummer light, is where I found myself on the day before my departure from Italy when I took the reference photo for this painting in July 1998.
I had made a solo pilgrimage to see the mosaics and pay my respects at the resting place of Dante who had been my guide to seeing Florence since the very beginning.
The Basilica di San Vitale, an ancient octagonal structure covered in sparkling mosaics, was completed in 547 AD and the experience of being there stands in my top ten moments of amazement.
In this painting I revisited a photographic image I took in 1998 with a medium format camera that my grandfather had given me. (Sadly the camera was stolen from me in Spain later that summer.) On that day I explored the roads that traverse the hill up to the Piazzale Michelangelo with that spectacular view of the heart of Florence. I was likely alone, like this woman pictured.
I also made a tiny etching (2 x 3 inches) based on this photo in 2011. Since then the image has been quite metaphorical to me. The wall is a barrier that has come to mean not just distance of place, but time. I was lucky enough to be in Florence a few weeks ago, but during that visit I could only travel alongside my memories. My experience there as a 20-something year old art student/English teacher lives in some sort of a parallel universe.
Ever since I left Florence (Firenze), the city has left a significant mark on my subconscious. I've had hundreds of dreams where I'm there and the realization of where I am elates me. This dream has recurred so many times I could draw you a map of my dream Florence...and since I am awake now I will tell you it varies from the real map of Florence.
This painting is a recent work that I made using a photograph I took in 1998 as reference. As I painted it, I liked how the work took my mind to this subconscious space. I want to spend some more time there as I prepare to take my family to the real Florence. Expect to see more from this series as I engage in my personal preparation for our trip.