A visit to the University of Pavia's Archaeological Museum

9 January 2023

Hidden in a confusing maze of courtyards at the Strada Nuova campus is a quaint collection of archaeological artefacts owned by the University of Pavia that range from iron age Italy to Ptolemaic Egypt to classical statuture, and even includes an actual mummy that was gifted to the university in the 19th century. The museum itself is situated in a single room that used to be a part of a hospital run by the St. Agustine order until the museum was founded in 1819, and the artefacts are loosely organzied in groups throughout the room.

The organization of the museum may seem unique or even messy, but it's reminiscent of salon-style exhibitions like the Paris Salon that attracted major artists and critics of the Impressionist movement. Salons and salon gatherings seem to have originated in Italy during the Renaissance and were adopted by intellectuals and elites through the Enlightenment era. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there were salon gatherings in this museum to discuss the pieces held within, or to learn that the museum is kept in almost the same way today as it was during the past 200 or so years.

Porta Palatina, Torino

5 January 2023

On our trip to Turin, on our way to the Lavazza Museum (post to come?) we passed by The Porta Palatina (Palatine Gate, lit. palace gate). It is a Roman construction from the 1st century BCE and used to be one of the main gates into the Roman-era city Taurinorum which is now Turin. In fact, other Roman constructions can be found in the city like the nearby House of the Senate. The gate didn't lead to an actual palace, and it's unsure why it aquired this name; perhaps it refers to the house of the senate that is nearby or to the Roman ampitheater, or some ruins were confused with a palace by the ancients. In front of the gate is a bronze statue of Julius Ceasar, father of Augustus Ceasar and founder of Taurinorum.

Right: view of the gate from the park, which is on the ex-archaeological site.
Left: close-up of the gate, with my friend Renee for scale. The cobblestone road is also from the same era as the gate, and you can even see the ruts from wagon wheels going through the large arch. The smaller arches were designated for pedestrians and people on horseback.

Weather Alert: Fog

15 December 2022

A surprising amount of fog for around 2pm in the afternoon. Typical for a humid marshy area like this.

"Woodcut" Medieval Manuscript

December 2022

My appreciation for medieval manuscript illumination, woodcut printmaking, and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose came together for this project: a linocut in the style of a woodcut manuscript illumination! I wanted to challenge myself with a new style and to be a little more free in my printmaking. For this, the drawing was just of the figure and outlines, so I had to carve all of the shadows freehand as I worked. Usually I plan out every cut because it's hard for me to visualise how values will look in a final print with a medium that only does black and white, but this was good practice for me to learn how values would work as I went. Besides, the style of woodcut and of medieval art in general can be quite forgiving to inaccurate shading or perspectives (which I purposefully made a little wonky). The margin decoration was fun to do as well, but I had to remember to keep it simple because I don't have the ability to use multiple colors like traditional illumination, and I had a very narrow space for the left and bottom margins. For the top and right margins, which are a little larger, I want to do something that will bring together the little margin monks (can you identify them?) and the rest of the piece, and the original plant-like design I have now is too large and simple for the area, but I may use it if I do something like this again). Until I find inspiration, and buy paper, it will remain unfinished.

Garden of Earthly Delights Cross-stitch Project

AS of March 24, 2022, began on Jan 7, 2022

Pattern from
Finished Size (approximate), 14 count: 12.5” x 30.75”
Stitches: 174w x 430h