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The Badia Fiorentina Monastery

Zaktualizowano: lis 11

Italy, and especially Florence, holds a special place in my heart. Chance, I was over the moon to receive a commission connected with the subject that I was working on during my John Kinross Scholarship 2020 in Florence. This was such a special time for me and my art practice, and I'm very happy to say that the commissioned painting is already in its new home in Hong Kong!


The subject of the painting was one of my favorite places in Firenze- the Badia Fiorentina, which is a small church and convent. This commission was different from the works that I did in Florence. This time I was not working on the spot but from sketches, my memories, and experiences. The Badia Fiorentina is special for many reasons; inside there is a beautiful painting by Fillipo Lippi one of the most impressive carved wooden ceilings.


What I like the most about this place, are small courtyards with single trees growing in the middle of them, which feels like a peculiar symbol itself. There's a 'legend' that in this church Dante saw Beatrice for the first time (this is at least what the nuns in the Badia Fiorentina like to tell tourists). Nevertheless, Dante certainly knew well this church and visited it many times as he even mentioned it in the Divide comedy. Therefore, in the painting, I wanted to picture the trees as orange trees in the middle of the courtyard. It is said that orange fruit in the Italian Renaissance art symbolized wealth, spirituality as well as the divide and romantic love, which I wanted to use as a reference to Dante.


In every place where you had been, I pray that I will meet you someday

Oil painting on canvas 150x100cm 2021, Private collection

The trees are connected by crowns, to form unity and to symbolize the intimacy that can be felt in this place. They are full of ripe oranges many of them unpicked and on the ground, and trees with their fruits standing there waiting, reminding of the stories and the past glory of the place that can still be noticed today.

The book left open under the arches is again a small reference to Dante (who is always portrayed with a book), but also to the morning masses that take place every day in the church and during which the nuns and monks are singing from the open books that they hold.

The title of the painting refers to the history and metaphors presented above and suggests a story behind it.


It was also one of the largest paintings that I have worked on in a very long time. Unlike drawing, painting allowed me to present colors, and the one-of-a-kind warm Italian Summer light, which wouldn't be possible in charcoal.

I'm extremely grateful for commissions like this, it is always a joy to work and discuss the idea with the client and create works on the subject so close to my heart.


Below you can see the video process of painting.


If you would like to see more behind-the-scenes please visit my Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/zuzanna_salamon/


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