Painting Exhibition at the ‘Antica Drogheria’
The Antica Drogheria lies just beyond the old gateway Porta San Gervasio of the medieval walls in Via Elisa on the eastern edge of Lucca. In 1895 the old stables of Villa Bottini were transformed into a drogheria that translates as a grocery shop. For the last ten years the place has become a bar and pizzeria/restaurant with a wood-fired oven and kitchen. For me the place is important not only for good food but also the delightful owners have a great interest in displaying works of art by local artists.
On a beautiful exposed brick wall in the restaurant area I was allowed at no cost to display some of my oil paintings that I had worked on for the last year. Three paintings form part of an on-going series entitled Le Donne dell’Oratorio that are portraits of sopranos singing arias from scenes of operas mostly those of Puccini. The shared background of these paintings is the Oratorio degli Angeli Custodi a small beautiful old church in Lucca that houses many religious paintings, architectural features with its walls and ceilings covered in frescoes. It is in this magical setting that LuccaOperaFestival mainly hold their delightful concerts. Recently work has been agreed to start to renovate and vastly improve the facilities at the Oratorio for future generations.
Other paintings I was able to display at the Drogheria were portraits of Giuseppe Verdi, Alfredo Catalani and copies of works by the wonderful American painter John Singer Sargent. Ten paintings in all were displayed for the whole of April 2016, something I had never done before.
The feedback I received from the exhibition was very positive and complimentary. I was able to write a piece in the April edition of the local monthly magazine The Grapevine which is an interesting and very useful publication about what is on in Lucca and the surrounding area written in English by ex-pats and local Italians who have a shared love of the city and Tuscany in general.
My neighbour Barbara Ghiselli, a young teacher and journalist, kindly wrote and published an article on-line in Italian in the ‘La Gazzetta di Lucca’ about my exhibition which was hopefully read by many Lucchese. Again I had some positive feedback from several local artists and businesses which all helps to inspire me to work harder, create more art and join in the cultural life that is so abundant in Lucca.