This past May, I studied art in Italy with Seton Hill University and I can honestly say that doing so was one of the best decisions that I've ever made. It was a ten day trip that brought us closer to the Renaissance and the Baroque periods of Italian Art and we studied in Rome, Florence and Venice. However, this blog is dedicated to the art of horror, so one may be wondering what I could possibly have to share with you on here. Well, despite seeking answers and pleasures in the nature of art, I was also curious about the literary developments that happened in the country as well. When I was in Rome, I had the pleasure of seeing various Tea Rooms where the Romantic writers would go to discuss and ponder their crafts; some tea rooms were even named after them, such as BYRON, and the Lovecraftian cafe MONT BLANC.
I adored Rome for its religious nature and the way that it toyed with life and death in its art-- especially within the various renditions of the Last Judgment. Yet my favorite place of art was the Bone Church that we visited, which I am sad to report that I have no pictures of (for since it is a sacred place of rest, photography is forbidden). However, an accurate description can be painted-- the walls were decorated with bones, the chandeliers were made of rib cages and scapula(s), and there were bodies in various stages of decomposition watching over their tombs. It was easily the most unique and grotesque form of art that I have ever seen-- yet extremely effective in its purpose to remind those of what awaits for them after death. Yet despite all of the Romantic attributes of Rome...Florence was by far my favorite.
In Florence, I was as close as I ever will be to one of my favorite authors/poets Dante Alighieri. I had the honor of visiting his grave site as well as seeing his house, which one can see me standing in front of in the second picture below. Then, to top it all off, the first picture below was of the apartments that were owned by Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.
So now you must be wondering what I found in Venice that tickled my literary bone -- and unfortunately, I didn't really find much--- except for the painting by Max Ernst that is on the cover of Freud's The Uncanny. Yet, I feel like this is rather relevant to my studies in literature since I dabble in science-fiction along with horror, and surrealism is a huge part of both of them since it plays with the inner workings of the mind and the unconscious. So even though I went to Italy to study art, I found that I went on a great literary adventure as well as I got to see tons of artifacts and places of interests that covered both of my passions.