Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Two Things to Know about Genoa

1. Allegedly, jeans originated in Genoa (bleu de Genes en francais, minus accent marks that I cannot locate on this computer). While this legend may or may not be true, my spouse and I stopped by a very intriguing exhibit about jeans, in one form at least, at the Museum of the Archdiocese of Genoa. Most of what was contained in the Archdiocese's museum was similar to that which we observed in the Museum of the Treasures of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (also visited yesterday). Generally, the museums contained (dubious) relics, including one that portended to contain hair from the Virgin Mary and another that supposedly contained the ashes of St. John the Baptist! All of these relics were flashy and gilded. As my spouse put it - virtually all of the objects were contenders for "King of Bling" - a little known award bestowed upon gaudy church relics dating from the Renaissance by one medieval scholar.

In any event, the exhibit we saw distinct from the other artifacts in the galleries. The exhibit was called "The Blue of Genoa" and consisted of about a dozen large paintings on denim fabric. The scenes detailed the passion of Christ and were extraordinarily detailed, considering that the artist only painted with white tempera on the cloth. The one exception to the white/blue color scheme was on a painting of "La Flagellazione" (Italian for "The Flagellazione") where the portions of Christ's body that were taking the worst beating had what appeared to be real dried blood on them. This was rather more realistic than how most icons I've seen in the past few days depicted blood, so I found it somewhat jarring. The scale of these paintings was rather huge. From the way the fabric was cut, it looked like the tapestry-like results would have been displayed from various portions of a cathedral, perhaps during holy week. All in all, this was a great exhibition - if you get the chance to go, don't forget to look at the ceiling...

2. Focaccia. Wow. They say Genoese focaccia is the bomb, and it is. On the way back from the archive today we stopped for a bite and it was crispy but tender inside, oily and salty, and some bites seemed to melt away in my mouth. Given that the weather has still been quite chilly, I have not yet bitten the bullet and tried gelato here. That might have to wait for the warmer climate in Rome. I wonder if they'll have focaccia flavored gelato there?

1 comment:

kristina said...

teeny- it's great to have you back on the internetz. i am so glad you are writing about your trip. besos.