Sant Angelo – 11″x14″ oil on canvas
by Patricia Robin Woodruff
As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
This time last year, I was returning from four months abroad in Italy. I was transformed by the experience thru the art, the history and the cultures.
I have never seen so much sculpture! The sensuous sculpture and beautiful, complex carvings soaked into my subconscious through those four months there. The serene, smiling faces of Etruscan gods, contrasted with the vivid emotions captured in marble carved by Bernini centuries later. Greek and Roman ideals of beauty stood tall in every museum, while on the streets Renaissance angels alternated with Roman gods and Egyptian lions.
The layers of history everywhere reminded me that many cultures had been and gone in this area. The huge ancient stones of a temple to Jupiter was now the foundation of a Renaissance palace that got turned into a modern day museum, housing even more sculptures.
Interacting with Italians, Gypsies, Bangladeshi immigrants, and tourists from other lands really was an eye opening experience. Everyone viewing the city from different perspectives; from busy Italian businessmen walking past the grand Colosseum with barely a glance, to poor Bangladeshi men trying to sell umbrellas. I saw gypsy children, hardworking Italian farmers, gawking tourists and performing musicians all in the space of one city block. So many different perspectives to view the world through, it is impossible to think that one-size-fits-all.
As Neil Gaiman said, “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.”
– Patricia Robin Woodruff