As you may have noticed we’ve practically stopped blogging Art is Life – we may post something on the “why” in the coming days … in the meantime we catch up and post a few things we’ve had lying around… along with this Art is Life “how-to.” We’ve posted about art and cultural events happening “in-and-around” Pietrasanta for four years – the posts have included pretty much everything under the sun, art, movies, music… and social issues. It’s a blog that at times was difficult to keep up,  for all the events happening, and also a blog that has “written itself” … and so, today we put forth a little “user’s manual” on how to … well, use this blog.

To see the posts we’ve written about the many talented individual artists who’ve exhibited in the “City of Art” use the “search” box at the bottom of this page. If you want to see posts about Pietrasanta ONLY, then click on the button at top, or here.

We posted about sculpture courses and the bronze foundries and marble laboratories in town. You can get a list of studios – we added Studio Pescarella to the list recently – visit the webpage, linked here. For a list of studios which offer workspaces and sculpture courses, visit the pages linked here, and here. For a post on the tools of the trade, and where to purchase them, visit the page, linked here. If you run a studio or hold sculpture courses in town, and you want to have them included in these lists, then write to us at, and we will add your info.

We’ve posted about Leonardo’s mysterious courtesan, the Mona Lisa – who with her enigmatic smile still manages to seduce and provoke. To see our posts – including our “take” on the Isleworth Mona Lisa (our forensic art-historians boldly propose a theory of WHO the painter really is, and WHERE the likeness that inspired it is located.) To be drawn-in again, visit the page linked here.

You can get a glimpse of Pietrasanta’s main Piazza on the “Pietrasanta Webcam” – which we link here: the user name is “guest” and the password is “pietrasanta” – to improve your experience, change the transmit rate to 12 fps, and enlarge the window in your browser by clicking “command +” (on a mac) or “control +” (on a pc.) IAs of this writing, the webcam is unavailable… no telling if it’s down for maintenance or for good… you know… “siamo in Italia!”

The blog has posted some … “peculiar” (as one scupltor friend put it) movies and you can see them by clicking on the “Cinema” tab at the top of the page… or by clicking here.  Some of them have been taken down since we posted them… and we’ve posted lots of music as well. You can see all of our posts featuring classical, experimental and even some rock music, by visiting the webpage, linked here.

As all decent art blogs should, we have a Bestiary… yes… we boast a fine menagerie of the strange critters who walked the earth over the centuries. We’ve gathered sculptures, drawings, and paintings… of them, from Nepal, Mesopotamia, Ancient Rome, and the depths of the Mayan jungles… in our “Holy Bestiary!” which you can see in our menu at the top and which we link here.  C’mon, we know you’re curious… pull back the green curtain and take a peek!

If you want to take Italian classes – to improve your skills, while in Pietrasanta, we recommend Ilaria Palagi, a fine language teacher, and friend of ours – see the post with the contact info, linked here. 

We are firm believers in the power of Chinese medicine – especially acupuncture – and we were lucky to find the knowledgeable Paola Rodrigues, a practitioner of the ancient art who has a studio just minutes from the city center… you can get the contact info on a post. linked here.

Make sure you see the Museo dei Bozzetti – should you be in Pietrasanta… it’s a very compelling collection of artists’ models, and it’s located in the Cloister of Sant’Agostino, in the main square. Visit the official website, linked here, or a page with our posts about the one-of-a-kind little museum, linked here.

Visit the Comune di Pietrasanta’s official website for lists of (some of) the events happening around town, linked here.

We’ve had fun covering the art-happenings in Pietrasanta… and we thank you for reading … for your support, your patience, and your comments.

We want to thank Valentina Fogher and Alessia Lupoli at the Comune’s Culture office, for the info, sneek peeks, and for their support, in general.

“Grazie e arrivederci!”



Pietrasanta – as you may have heard us say before – is a charming little town on the northwestern coast of Tuscany. It is famous the world over for the bronze foundries, and marble studios where many international artists have worked for decades – with the help of the skilled artisans – the artigiani – who help bring the artists’ visions to “life.”

We post some evocative black and white photos from “Made in Pietrasanta” a book of photos by the photographer Enzo Cei, which chronicles the life of the laboratories in the “Città D’Arte.”

Visit the photographer’s website, linked here.





Pietrasanta-artigiani“Made in Pietrasanta” 160 pages in color and black and white.
The book is in Italian and in English.
You can purchase a copy of the book for 40 euros by emailing the photographer directly at

The book was produced with the support of the Comune di Pietrasanta and the Fondazione della Banca del Monte di Lucca and is sponsored by the Provincia di Lucca and by the Associazione Artigianart.

We direct you here to a page, linked here, with more information on Enzo Cei’s book – and the work of other photographers who’ve documented the city’s artistic life.


A quick reminder – and an update: Igor Mitoraj, one of the more famous artists working in Pietrasanta sculpture passed away in October, yet his legacy continues to march on. His “Angeli” exhibition, featuring sculpture and paintings, wraps up the 15th of January… and no matter what you feel about the master’s work, it’s a show worth seeing for its sheer impact, thematic coherence, and for the evocative power of the exhibition’s installation. And plans are indeed underway for a major retrospective of the artist’s work, which will be held in the City of Art’s Church of Sant’Agostino Complex and its “salotto nobile” … Pietrasanta’s main square, next summer!

Read the Wikipedia article on Mitoraj, linked here.

The photo above is by Giovanni Ricci-Novara, visit his website, linked here.

Igor Mitoraj
From the 17th of May, 2014, to the 15th of January, 2015
Piazza dei Miracoli

Hours: from 9am to 5pm.
Ticket price: 3 euros

For information and tickets:

To read more posts about Igor Mitoraj which appeared in Art is Life over the years – and to see more photos of his work – visit this webpage, linked here.


To see the other episodes in the series, visit the “youtube playlist” linked here.


Scultura in Pietrasanta takes on many forms and shows up in the darnest places. We post a photo of the life-size bronze replica of the David by Michelangelo. It’s on temporary display at the Pietrasanta Pier, in Tonfano. It was produced by the Del Chiaro Foundry, whose website we link here.

The photo is by Ebi de Boer, one of the many international sculptors who live and work in Pietrasanta. Ebi is a friend of ours – she has contributed many a fine photo to “Art is Life.” (Thank you Ebi!) Visit Ebi’s blog, to see more of her own wonderful photos – and some of her sculpture work, linked here.



Photo by Traumrune from Wikipedia.








mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014Art from Wikipedia.


mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014Dear Mr. Cameron,
we respectfully submit to you this documentary as evidence of what you’ve so powerfully recently denounced… “extremist ideology” at its most pernicious… or at least as … some people doubting the official scenario for what happened on 9/11.  We take the opportunity here to do our civic duty and report the filmmakers as well.

These “some people” are experts in the field – architects and engineers, as the name of their group states – and they have pretty basic questions about the – as the NYTimes called it at the time – the “strange collapse” of World Trade Seven… and other bizzarre structural failures of that fateful September morning.

They have a petition online – which proves their “extremism” and so e presume they are now on a list of Terrorists whose ideology must be bombed er, stopped

And we apologize in advance for appearing “Extremists” … but we quote from the A&E9/11Truth youtube page: “This is the 1-hour version of our 1 ½ hour groundbreaking documentary 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out which is available for purchase as a DVD in our online store at… or as a download at”

Patriotism may be the last refuge of the Scoundrel, but Parody is the desperate last resort of the Forensic Art Historian.

The Forensic Art Historians
at Art is Life.

Previously on Art is Life:

David Cameron’s UN Speech on ISIL, Syria, Assad, Iraq, Iran, 9/11, ‘Jewish plot’, freedom of speech

Lifting a page from a Fascist playbook Cameron warns against “non violent extremists” … such as anyone doubting the official 9/11 story



mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014Due to the popularity of the original “The Nightmare,” Fuseli painted several versions of the work – this one is from 1790-91.




A Piazza in Italy is a sacred thing; a special place. All public squares, especially those in Italian cities, are the center of social life, a place to hang out with friends, a place to exchange ideas.

They deserve to welcome all opinions, even dissenting ones – but what happened in Rome a few days ago proves that maybe this is not the case in Rome.

Striking workers – holding a peaceful rally to protest the closing of the steel mill in terni – were surrounded by Police. Tensions ran high – we post a video of the goings-on below – and at one point the cacca hit the ventilatore, Police charged the assembled clubbing people indiscriminately… workers and union leaders were hit and ultimately three operai found themselves at the hospital.

The photo above is from Fb… via The Huffington Post / Italian Edition, linked here.



Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


The 65 Limited Edition copies of the album – signed and numbered – are sold out, but you can buy the digital album for 6 euros, on the bandcamp page, linked here.

(via A Closer Listen)


Another sculpture al fresco – more art is added to Pietrasanta’s Parco della Scultura – the “City of Art’s” open air sculpture park. This time it’s Maria Papa Rostkowski’s “Gaia” made out of “marmo arabescato” from 1980.

The unveiling reception is scheduled for this saturday, the 25th of October, 2014, at 4:30pm.

Maria Papa was one of the first foreign female artists to come to Pietrasanta. She arrived here in 1966, for a symposium organized by the Henraux company. She subsequently made Pietrasanta a regular atelier dividing her time between it and Paris. A painter by training – she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in her native Warsaw – she worked in marble and bronze together with the local artisans in the marble laboratories and bronze foundries.

The sculpture is a donation of the artist’s son, Nicolas Rostkowski and will be placed in the Piazza D’Annunzio in Fiumetto, Pietrasanta. The Mayor, Domenico Lombardi who will preside over the unveiling, Saturday states: “We thank the Rostkowski family, especially Nicolas, for his commitment to promoting the artistic message of his mother, and for his care for our territory.” Nicolas Rostkowski will also present Saturday, along with his wife Agnieszka Tarasiuk, director of the “Xawery Dunikowski” Sculpture Museum, which recently hosted the largest retrospective dedicated to Maria papa, in Poland.

Visit Maria Papa’s website, for more information on the artist, and to see more of her work, linked here.

Visit the Parco Internazionale della Scultura’s page, to see a list – and photos – of all of the work exhibited in Pietrasanta’s open spaces, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

Discover Pietrasanta’s “Parco della Scultura” with a “visita guidata,” a guided tour, this Saturday, the 29th of September 

“Run, Pedal, Swim” for Pietrasanta’s first TriArtOn – a sporting encounter with art, this Sunday the 1st of September, 2013




Caterina Rapetti, an expert in the field will lead this year’s Reunion of the Accademia Aruntica in Carrara with her talk “I Marmi di Michelangelo.”

The talk takes place this Saturday, the 25th of October, 2014, at 4pm, in the Library in Piazza Gramsci, in Carrara.  

To see the full program of this Riunione di Studio, visit the Accademia Aruntica’s website, linked here.

Each year at the Riunione di Studio of the Accademia, a sculpture is presented… you can see a list the sculptures that have starred in reunions of years’ past, on the Accademia website, linked here.





^ µ


From “Manipulating Photography…Before Photoshop,” a review of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in The Wall Street Journal, linked here.


“Fragili Bellezze S.O.S. Terra. Aria. Vita.Emergenze 2014,” is a group show by 26 artists at Palazzo Panichi in Pietrasanta, on the theme of our place within a fragile environment. The show features work by the ASART art association of Pietrasanta, and it is produced by the Assessorato alla Cultura of Pietrasanta.

The opening is tonight, Saturday, the 18th of October, 2014, at 6pm.

The show of works deals with nature, its transparency, surface, color and form – but also looks at the fragile nature of the social drama which surrounds us.

The artists showing are: Annaluce Aglietto, Mario Baroni, Enrico Becherelli, Gloria Bertolone, Marco Bianchi, Giuseppe Bonfigli, Marcela Magdalena Bracalenti, Luigi Valente Cancogni, Fortunata Carta, Daniele Emilio Cinquini, Ferdinando Coppola, Floriana Gerosa, Massimiliano Kormuller, Paola Magrini, Monica Michelotti, Sebastiano Migliarini, Marcello “MARK” Nesti, Annamaria Paggini, Maria Vittoria Papini, Fabrizio Petrillo, Michela Radogna, Cinzia Sarti, Gianfranco Stacchi, Adriana Tonelli, Vanessa Thyes, and Maria Rita Vita.

On Sunday, the 19th of October, 2014, the show takes the form of a public lecture on the Frailty of our Artistic patrimony, at the Chiostro di Sant’Agostino.

Domenico Lombardi, Pietrasanta’s Mayor will participate, as will restaurateur Emma Castè and Paolo Bartoncini Sabatini, art history professor from the University of Pisa.

“Fragili Bellezze S.O.S. Terra. Aria. Vita.Emergenze 2014.”
From the 18th of October to the 16th of November, 2014
Palazzo Panichi,
Piazza Duomo,
Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5pm to 7pm.
FREE and open to the public.




mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014We post another dark selection from A Closer Listen’s Best Music For Haunted Houses, (we posted Mike Patton’s awesome soundtrack for an imagined horror movie a few nights back) – this time it’s music – scratchy … blurred, unfinished creepy music filled with pops and cracks, and un-remembered melodies – it’s a strange album called “An Empty Bliss Beyond this World” by The Caretaker … whose name refers to a Caretaker of yore, one tasked with overseeing the Overlook Hotel, one winter, way back in 1980.

You can purchase the full album on the band’s bandcamp page, for 5 pounds, linked here.

(via A Closer Listen)


A glaring mis-attribution, by the Art is Life Forensic Art History Department was brought to our attention by a reader, (Thank you Alexandro) … we apologize for any discomfort this shoddy mislabeling may have caused: we’d like to state: as they repeat – like a mantra – in Italy “Ci scusiamo per il disagio.”

The lovely lady pictured above, holding a palm and a sword, is in fact Santa Catalina, and the painter is a young Murillo, showing his considerable chops, and not by the talented Italian contemporary Pietro Da Cortona, as we reported in a previous post. Needless to say we at Art is Life take attribution very seriously, and so heads rolled, or rather, the whole department was publicly whipped with a palm branch and skewered.

The painting of the young woman is a truly wonderful baroque masterwork – we read up on its history and it reads like a detective novel…  many copies were made, testifying to the importance of the painting and much controversy, accusations of theft and international intrigue surround the painting to this day.

We reprint the first part of Benito Navarrete Prieto’s (He is the Scientific Advisor of the Centro Velázquez) piece for the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, which won a claim of ownership to the painting.

Mr Navarrete Prieto’s an expert – and since our staff is … indisposed, we’ll let him at it… take it from the top, Benito:
(you can read the rest of the incredible story on the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, website, linked here.)

“Confused in different foreign collections and attributed to both Zurbarán and Alonso Cano, the Saint Catherine that Focus-Abengoa purchased recently has had a tempestuous history and has been the fodder for envy over the years, unquestionably because of the loveliness of the saint and its status as a “divine portrait” of exceeding elegance and beauty. Cited by Antonio Ponz in his Viaje de España in Seville’s Saint Catherine’s church, as well as by the Count of Aguila, Ceán Bermúdez also referred to it as a “very lovely half-length Saint Catherine shown along with the doorway of the chapel of the tabernacle” in the aforementioned church. In 1810 it was listed in the inventory of the Alcázar among the paintings confiscated by the invading government as by Murillo, in hall no. 11 and with place no. 286. “Another of 1 vara (about 82 cm) high and ¾ wide, St. Catherine”. This piece of information is crucial in relating it to the canvas purchased by the Foundation, as the measurements listed in the inventory dovetail with the 82.5 x 62 cm of our painting. When he published his monograph on Murillo, Diego Angulo included this information in his catalogue, although he did not relate them to any known work. However, even though he gave two entries for Saint Catherine and for the inventory at the Alcázar, he was unsure whether they were the same, as in fact they were. When writing in 1844 about Saint Catherine’s church in Seville, González de León spoke about the eminent paintings in this church, “which have recently been lost due to carelessness or avarice, a half-length of Saint Catherine by Murillo…”.

The definitive proof to confirm that this Saint Catherine is the one stolen by Soult comes from two sources. One of them is the letter recently published by Ignacio Cano from the parish priest of Saint Catherine’s church, José Ollos Limón, dated the 20th of January 1819, in which he bitterly complained to the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts: “that last year, 1811, the French removed from my church on the orders of Marshal Soult an original painting of the effigy of Saint Catherine by Murillo worth a great deal of value and esteem. The French have taken the painting that the petitioner is reclaiming, which measures around one vara high and not as wide. The petitioner has asked the extraordinary ambassador in Paris, Mr Pedro Gómez Labrador and later the ordinary ambassador, the Honourable Mr Peñalada, for the painting….”


Previously on Art is Life:

Pietro da Cortona – neglected Italian Renaissance painter, along with other Baroque Masters on view in Lecce. Do yourselves a favor and watch the youtube video in full screen.


mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014“Autumn (1973), composed by Tōru Takemitsu, and preformed by The Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Tōru Takemitsu was a Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu possessed consummate skill in the subtle manipulation of instrumental and orchestral timbre. Post courtesy of TheWelleszTheatre.
From DERTV on vimeo.



mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014The art above is one of Tomi Ungerer’s concept sketches for Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr Strangelove” movie poster, from 1964.

Previously on Art is Life:

“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (Stanley Kubrick, 1964, Full Movie)

Drawing is Loving: ____________ “The World of Beasts” Tomi Ungerer, 2011

“Moon Man” (Tomi Ungerer, Stephan Schesch, Full animation)


mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014To watch PBS’s “United States of Secrets, Part One,” click on the image above, or here, to go to the PBS page to see the full documentary.



mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014To buy a copy of these documentaries on DVD, visit


mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014Wikipedia states: The Ace of Hearts is a 1921 film produced and directed by Wallace Worsley. The screenplay by Ruth Wightman is based on the pulp novel The Purple Mask by Gouverneur Morris. It stars Leatrice Joy, John Bowers and Lon Chaney…. The film is divided into eight chapters. A secret vigilante society’s nine members pass judgment on others. They meet to decide the fate of a wealthy businessman they have been keeping under surveillance known as “The Man Who Has Lived Too Long” and vote to dispatch him with a homemade bomb concealed in a cigar case. Members Forrest (John Bowers) and Farallone (Lon Chaney) are both in love with the sole woman in the group, Lilith (Leatrice Joy). Forrest openly declares his love, but is spurned by Lilith, who is completely devoted to the “Cause”.

At a meeting later that day, as per their custom, Lilith deals playing cards, one at a time, to each of the society members; whoever receives the ace of hearts is to carry out the assassination. When Forrest is dealt the ace, Lilith offers to marry him that very day if it will give him courage. Forrest readily accepts, much to Farallone’s distress. After the couple marries, the grief-stricken Farallone spends the night in the rain outside their apartment.

The next morning, Lilith has been transformed by her love. She begs Forrest not to go through with the assassination. He replies that he is honor-bound to carry out his mission. He goes to the café where his target habitually dines and where Forrest works as a waiter.”

Read the rest linked here.



Pietrasanta, the “Città d’Arte” celebrates Cinema… “SpazioCinema” is a regular series of films at the Cinema Comunale in Pietrasanta, which seamlessly fits into the regular programming of the movie house. The “festival” starts this Wednesday, the 15th of October, with a screening of Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows” – a restored print in the original French, with Italian subtitles.

The second appointment, scheduled for Wednesday, the 22nd of October, features “Jimi – All is By My Side” by John Ridley (Oscar-winner, for “12 years a slave”).

The third and fourth evenings are devoted to Italian Cinema, starting on Wednesday, the 29th of October, with “Se chiudo gli occhi non sono più qui” by Vittorio Moroni, and on Wednesday, the 5th of November, with “Le cose belle” by Giovanni Piperno. The filmmakers will be present for the last two screenings.

Only one screening per evening at 9pm, the ticket price is 5 euros and a half.

We direct you to the SpazioCinema program, linked here.


The subsequent episodes of Robert Hughes’ landmark television series are linked at film’s end.

Previously on Art is Life:

 “Goya, Crazy like a Genius” (Robert Hughes, 2007, Full Documentary)

“The Mona Lisa Curse” (2008, Robert Hughes, Full Movie)

“Caravaggio” (Robert Hughes, 1975, Full Documentary)

Robert Hughes: on the Business of Art… and on Hype … “isn’t it a miracle how much money and so little ability can produce?”

Robert Hughes, “the greatest art critic of our time” … on Pop Art and Andy Warhol


From Nick Barber’s Flickr stream, linked here.








“Like The Svrgeon, The ‘Composer’ Slashes Open The Body Of His Fellow Man Removes His Eyes, Empties His Abdomen Of Organs, Hangs Him Vp On A Hook Holding Vp To The Light All Of The Body’s Palpitating Treasvres Sending A Bvrst Of Light Into Its’ Innermost Depths”

mouvement-gothique-art-is-life-blog-october-2014This is the soundtrack for a horror movie that does not exist. It’s a single 74-minute track by wildman Mike Patton’s Fantômas. Read more about the album, on the Wikipedia article, linked here, and buy the album at Discogs, linked here.

From A Closer Listen’s: “Best Music for Haunted Houses,” a compendium of dark tunes for the Harvest Festival, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

Press Play: Mike Patton croons “Il Cielo in una Stanza” 


Previously on Art is Life:

“Moon Man” (Tomi Ungerer, Stephan Schesch, Full animation)


This is an internets “remix” of John Boorman’s epic “Zardoz” – a great movie that’s been both LOVED, … and ridiculed (…yes, I’m talkin’ bout you Kennybob!)

Difficult to find online, difficult to rent… the world’s “silliest” movie deserves a once-over.







You can purchase the band’s album for $5 or more here.

(via A Closer Listen)


The marble quarry workers are fed up: they are going to stand against Matteo Renzi’s reforms. Two two-hour strikes are expected in the next few days and workers from some of the largest quarries (Henreaux, and Savema, and Campolonghi) will participate.

The workers are especially concerned about the reforms to “Articolo 18” – which pretty much “liberalizes” the job market, … by removing all worker employment-protections and making it easier for anyone to be fired from their job.

“It is an act that does not have a precedent in the democratic history of this country” stated Claudio Vezzoni, a local union representative, “… modifying Article 18 without even a discussion in Parliament.”

The photo above is of the Fantiscritti quarries by Klaus with a K, from Wikipedia.




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