Friday, September 23, 2016

IN THE LIGHTS OF NAPLES

Francesco de Mura, the indisputable leader in his day of the Neapolitan School and the favorite of the reigning Bourbon King Charles VII, was the chief painter of decorative cycles to emerge from the studio of Francesco Solimena, the celebrated Baroque artist.
De Mura’s refined and elegant compositions, with their exquisite, light, and airy colors, heralded the rococo in Naples, and his later classicistic style led to Neo-Classicism.
De Mura’s ceiling frescoes rivaled those of his celebrated Venetian contemporary, Giambattista Tiepolo. Yet, today, he lacks his proper place in the history of art.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

ISLE OF CAPRI

'Twas on the Isle of Capri that I found her
Beneath the shade of an old walnut tree
Oh, I can still see the flow'rs blooming round her
Where we met on the Isle of Capri
She was as sweet as a rose at the dawning
But somehow fate hadn't meant her for me
And though I sailed with the tide in the morning
Still my heart's on the Isle of Capri
Summertime was nearly over
Blue Italian sky above
I said "Lady, I'm a rover
Can you spare a sweet word o'love?"
She whispered softly "It's best not to linger"
And then as I kissed her hand I could see
She wore a lovely meatball on her finger
'Twas goodbye at the Villa Capri
Summertime was nearly over
Blue Italian sky above
I said "Lady, I'm a rover
Can you spare a fine word o'love?"
She whispered softly "It's best not to linger"
And then as I kissed her hand I could see
She wore a plain golden ring on her finger
'Twas goodbye on the Isle of Capri
'Twas goodbye on the Isle of Capri
'Twas goodbye on the Isle of Capri

Thursday, September 1, 2016

EATING PIZZA IN NAPLES

The lump of dough is the size of a bowling ball and almost as heavy: working it requires real physical effort. Over and over again the pizzaiuolo heaves it onto the marble counter, forcing air into the mixture. Then he takes a chunk the size of an orange, flattens it with a push of his fist, and twirls it on his fingers until, magically, it seems to open up like a cowboy's lassoo into a shimmering, spinning saucer a few millimetres thick, hovering over his hand. 
This is la gestualità, 'the movement': as important a part of making a genuine pizza as choosing the right ingredients - which only ever consist of San Marzano tomatoes, oil and oregano, or, if you are making a Margherita instead of the more traditional Marinara, some mozzarella and a few torn basil leaves.
Once the toppings are in place, the pizzaiuolo takes a long paddle not unlike a lollipop lady's sign and slides the pizza into the glowing mouth of a wood-burning oven. Three minutes later it's done; the toppings still liquid, the crust light and airy, the base mottled with ash from the burning logs.