Friday, February 27, 2004

The Servi (by Sarah)

SIENA (#24)

Today, we went on our first historical adventure! We started with a church called Santa Maria dei Servi. It is one of the older churches in Siena, dating to around 1261. The church was close to Porta Roma, which is like halfway across town, but it still only took us 20 minutes or so to get there walking from our house. The church was empty: no one else was there most likely because most tourists were drawn to the more popular attractions such as the Duomo, the Piazza del Campo or the Duccio exhibition which we'll visit and write about later.

At Servi we had a little lesson taught by my dad. He explained about how Servi was designed from the Roman’s idea about a church, but it was sort of flipped around so that the door was at a different wall and the altar was at a different place. In the Servi, there were 3 naves, and the cross part is called the transept.

But the highlight of the church was a painting of Mary and baby Jesus by Coppo di Marcovaldo. There had obviously been thousands of the same painting done, but this painting was different in one very big way. It was the first painting to be signed by the artist. I was able to apply this to what I had learned in school about the Renaissance. Secularism, individualism, and humanism were the three main aspects that characterized the Renaissance. In my eyes, this particular painting related directly to individualism; or the celebration of the individual. Coppo signed his work, and therefore wanted to be recognized as an individual. He started a whole trend, and he was looked upon as people nowadays look at rock stars.

Now, back to history, Coppo di Marcovaldo was a Florentine. Florence and Siena have always been rivals. There was a very bloody battle called Monteperti between the rival cities where Coppo was on the battlefield. The Sienese recognized him immediately because of his fame and captured him. His term of release was to paint his famous painting of Mary and Jesus. This was the painting at Servi that we saw.

Really interesting stuff.

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-03-01 02:16:11 Shari
Re: The Servi
What a great term of release.  There must be a way to apply these humane (for the artist, sounds like a bunch of lesser-knowns got slaughtered) terms of capture to today's problems.  Even at a family level -- the terms of release for torturing your sibling are...  I'll have to think about that one when it's not so late. Anyways, can't wait to see it with you.

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