roberto luigi

roberto luigi
Tuscany, Italy
September 11
Born in Croazia ( then Dalmazia a province of Italy) and raised in Florence, Italy. Did university work in the USA with a master in semiconductor physics. Worked in hi-tech pretty much everywhere with long stints in the USA. Now living in Tuscany in the florentine hills with andrea, my american wife.


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APRIL 23, 2012 9:55AM

Americans in Florence

Rate: 8 Flag

Yesterday on a wet blustery Sunday morning a group of us from the florentine hills braved the weather and crossed the river Arno in Florence (Mark Twain remarked famously that only the florentines could call it a river and build bridges across it)


we were on the way to visit Palazzo Strozzi in the heart of the city as Daniela had organized a guided tour lead by professore Napoli (a purebred florentine by generations even though the name would suggest otherwise) on the "The Americans in Florence " art exhibit


The aim of the exibit was to show the influence of Florence and its art's cultural heritage on the technical and humanistic formation of young american artists in the period from the the mid 1800's up to the early 1900's. In the words of the curators:


Discover Florence through the Eyes of Young American Artists
By the end of the 19th century, America had been through a bitter civil war, and had celebrated one hundred years of nationhood. Following the reunification of Italy and a fiveyear period as capital of a new Italy, Florence was undergoing a period of renovation and civic rebirth after years of torpor. It was a dynamic, contemporary city. Young American artists flocked to Europe to discover a past they had only read about, and learn the newest approaches to painting. They arrived in Florence fresh, boisterous and ready to capture the charms of the Old World with the newest painterly techniques. Florence had a major impact on young artists-and the young Americans left their mark on Florence's cosmopolitan culture. This exhibition invites you to explore Florence around the turn of the century through the eyes of young American artists.


Introduction by the curators
This exhibition explores the ties American painters established with Florence and Tuscany from the mid-1800s to World War I. There was a substantial rise in the number of American artists travelling to Europe after the Civil War, eager to explore the antiquities and art of the past but attracted also by the charm and variety of the landscape - so different from the countryside back home - by the light, the atmospheric views and the "picturesque" locals. The exhibition's six sections display works by over thirty American artists who lived and painted in Florence. Some, like John Singer Sargent, are extremely famous, others are less well-known and their work is being shown in Italy for the first time. They were all to become celebrated painters on their return home, training the next generation of artists and renewing the concept of painting in America. Their work is shown throughout the exhibition alongside the paintings of the Florentine and Tuscan artists - Signorini, Corcos and Gordigiani - who came closest to the sophisticated manner, so rich in literary allusions, favoured and nurtured by this exclusive cosmopolitan colony.



Palazzo Strozzi sits right in the heart of Florence bound by Via Tornabuoni, Florence's  5th Avenue and Via Strozzi





After a brief stroll, given the weather, we went inside into the severe courtyard of the Palazzo


but graced by the caffè Giacosa and posters of the exhibit


Andrea relaxing after a caffè macchiato reading the International Herald Tribune waiting for the exhibit


If you want to dig into it go to:


Fast forward now a 100+ years with the hundreds of american kids still doing it, i.e., getting a certain type of education by spending sometime in Florence in one of the many branches of american universities abroad...Stanford has one, and one of the students that partook of the cultural experience was one Kevin Systrom better known now as Mister Instagram who, in his application to join Stanford,  cited both Donatello and Michelangelo as sublime examples of the marriage of art and enterprise....he spent time in Florence...one of his teachers, Tina Seelig, went as far as saying:" ....as Michelangelo used marble, Systrom today uses software!"...bellissimo!

It makes us both, Andrea and I, proud of this intellectual and cultural connection that ties my city and her country in an enduring knot

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If I could, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Beautiful pictures, Roberto./r
we used to stay at an old convent in Fiesole above Jerome's tomb. My mother didn't want to leave and sulked all the way to Rome where we also stayed at a convent. But it had a garden in the back full of ruins she could sit on and dream. Thankfully.
I loved Florence, the winding streets and piazzas with fountains. The small homes on the hill and the graceful bridges. I wish I had had more than a day or so to sit and drink coffee and overlook the scenes. Many were intent on shopping, I just strolled along content as a voyeur into another time.
So sorry Roberto, this is a lovely, post, the painting of Sargent are also here in Philadelphia, enjoyed the posters also.
rita - as you know Sargent was actually born in Florence of american parents of course; I don't know if the air helped :) but his paintings are closer to the italians' than the other americans...it is always a pleasure to hear from you....Ciao
Roberto, I didn't realize that actually, his father was a doctor here in Philadelphia and I have seen his paintings in our art museum, I love when something on OS forces me to read a little more, learn a little more.
I am jealous… Great here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico but I'm craving for Italy and its splendors.
Roberto, putting this together involved some work, and I thank you so much for that work. I did thoroughly enjoy looking and reading.

The next time you are in town, please also convey my thanks to Florence for the Renaissance. I do not know what we would have done without it.
Roberto, thank you for both words and pictures from Florence. They're bringing back a rush of memories of the time we spent there. One of my favorite spots was the Fra Angelico museum in the Piazza San Marco. Ben Sen (comment above) seems to have stayed in the same convent in Fiesole that we did, and Michele Pellerin (above) is bringing back an entirely different set of memories from San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I'm transported by this post! And with all due respect to my teacher Mark Twain, the Arno looks like a river to me! r
all - we always pinch ourselves when in town just to make sure it is all real! Many thanks from all florentines for your tributes