The Diary of One Who Disappeared is the title of a song cycle written by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. One of the purposes of this site is to act as a diary where I can keep a record of some of the things that I have spent my time doing, as well as memories that I want to preserve. The tabs above also contain some essays that I have written on subjects that interest me.
Although I am English I have disappeared from my native land and for the past two decades I have split my life between the south-west of France and the north-east of Italy. This has given me the opportunity to pursue a range of activities and interests, including completing a PhD in social history, teaching art history and English in Italy, going to art exhibitions throughout Europe, attending concerts and operas by favourite composers such as Janáček, Mahler, Shostakovich and others and travelling and exploring as much as possible.
The walled town of Monteriggioni
Benozzo Gozzoli ‘Scenes from the Life of Sant’ Agostino’ (1464 – 65) San Gimignano
Rosso Fiorentino ‘Deposition from the Cross’ (c.1521) Pinacoteca Comunale, Volterra
Piazza del Campo and Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Ambrogio Lorenzetti ‘The Effects of Good Government’ (1338 – 39) Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Ambrogio Lorenzetti ‘The Effects of Bad Government’ (1338 – 39) Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Simone Martini ‘Maestà’ (1312 – 15)
Simone Martini ‘Guidoriccio da Fogliano’ (1328)
Frescoes by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence
Masaccio ‘Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden’ (c.1424 – 27) Brancacci Chapel
In Florence for the exhibition ‘Verrocchio – Master of Leonardo’. The artist known as Verrocchio was born Andrea di Michele in Florence, circa 1435. He trained as a goldsmith but also became a master of carving in marble. He came to painting late, but by about 1470 he had established himself with works such as ‘Madonna and Child’, ‘The Virgin and Child with Two Angels’ and ‘Tobias and the Angel’.
He was responsible for training some of the greatest artists of the second half of the fifteeenth century, including Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lorenzo di Credi, Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci.
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Madonna and Child’ (c.1470)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Virgin and Child with Two Angels’ (c.1471 – 72)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Madonna and Child’ (c.1470 or 1475)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Tobias and the Angel’ (c.1471 – 72)
Andrea Verrocchio ‘Giuliano di Piero de’ Medici’ (c.1475)
Andrea Verrochio and Lorenzo di Credi ‘Madonna and Child between St. John the Baptist and St. Donatus’ (c.1475 – 86)
An extremely enjoyable concert at the Issigeac International Music Academy in the Dordogne, south-west France. The excellent Tippett Quartet played a programme of Holst, Ravel and Schubert.
Holst: ‘Fantasia for String Quartet’; Ravel: ‘String Quartet in F major’; Schubert: ‘String Quartet in D minor (Death and the Maiden)’
An excellent all-Berlioz programme by Les Siècles under François-Xavier Roth at La Coursive in La Rochelle. In the first half was the overture to the unfinished opera Les Francs-Juges and a beautifully sung Les Nuits d’été with mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand, whilst the second half saw a wonderfully performed Symphonie Fantastique.
Berlioz: Overture from ‘Les Francs-Juges’; ‘Les Nuits d’été’; ‘Symphonie Fantastique’
In the delightful town of La Rochelle on France’s Atlantic coast. It has a very attractive harbour, excellent shops, a wonderful food market and more restaurants than I have ever seen in one town.
Back at the Halle aux Grains, Toulouse for another very enjoyable concert by the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, this time under American conductor Joseph Swensen. In the first half was the Adagio from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 10, whilst the second half was Mahler’s excellent ‘Das Lied von der Erde’, with soloists Janina Baechle and Christian Elsner.
Mahler: Adagio from Symphony no. 10; Mahler ‘Das Lied von der Erde’
Antoni Gaudi was the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. All his buildings have a highly individualized style, influenced by nature and religion.
The industrialist Eusebi Güell was an early patron and for him Gaudi designed a home, the Palau Güell, and began an ambitious development now known as Parc Güell. Other commissions for houses included Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, both located in Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona.
From 1883 Gaudí took over as chief architect of Sagrada Familia, his magnum opus, on which he would work until his death in 1926.