Celebrating the great Master, by Ellen Miller

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Ask anyone to name one artist from Italy, and the majority will name Michelangelo. February 18, 2014 marks the 450th anniversary of the death of the great artist. The great master will be celebrated all over Italy in both new publications as well as special exhibits and conferences arranged to mark the occasion. If you are currently visiting Italy, be sure to stop by one of these special events to pay your respect to the great painter and sculptor. Perhaps one of the most unique events is the new lighting that is being installed in the Sistine Chapel. A pilot project with LED lights, the goal is to improve the quality of light being shone on Michelangelo’s signature frescos. The new lights will illuminate the paintings between five and ten times more than they are currently. Visitors will be able to experience the frescoes in a new diversity of colors, seeing them the way Michelangelo intended. As Michelangelo was from Florence, there will be a number of events closer to home for those whose future does not include a trip to Rome. From February 18 to May 18 an exhibition entitled Ri-conoscere Michelangelo, or Getting to Know Michelangelo Again, will be featured at the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture, the David, already resides. From February 18 to April 18, the Florence State Archive will display documents from the last 450 years concerning Michelangelo including some works by Galileo. The Medici Chapels will host a group of photographs of Michelangelo’s works until March 15. For something to look forward to, in April there will be a large costumed procession through the city and readings will be held, appropriately, in Piazza Michelangelo. If you are not able to make it to Italy to celebrate Michelangelo, there is another way you can mark the occasion: by reading love poems written by the artist himself. Michelangelo wrote quite a few poems dedicated to his muse Vittoria Colonna, which he originally intended to have published in a collection together. Perhaps due to his many other commitments, this never happened before her death. Michelangelo had admired her for her beauty and the depth of her mourning for her husband. 450 years later, though, the poems are being published together for the first time, in the original order indicated by Michelangelo. Wherever you are in the world, be sure to get a copy and see the master’s musings on love and beauty. Another way to participate from afar is to view the Icarch Gallery’s online exhibition of submissions from all over the world, designs for a house for Michelangelo. Challenged to design a house for the quintessential artist who wanted peace, a tormented soul, the submissions are all different kinds of mediums. Or perhaps the best way to celebrate of all is to indulge in a creation of your own. Michelangelo was not limited to one medium, so take the time to create your own sculpture or painting, remembering the works and life of the great master as we mark the 450th anniversary of his death.

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Da bambina sognavo di fare la giornalista e studiare fisica quantistica, poi mi sono laureata in Sociologia, soffermandomi sulle differenti tipologie di leadership attraverso le illuminanti opere di William Shakespeare. Qualche idea, però, deve essere stata ben chiara sin da allora perché la giornalista è ciò che faccio e amo fare da adulta. In qualità di Direttore artistico sono stata la prima donna ad aver diretto il Tepidarium del Roster al Giardino dell’Orticoltura di Firenze, la più grande serra in stile Liberty esistente in Italia e la più piccola d’Europa, costruita nel 1859 dall’Accademia dei Georgofili. Collaboro con gallerie e accademie d’arte, scuole, associazioni, musei, università e fondazioni, prevalentemente in Italia, Cina, Stati Uniti e Russia. Nel 2011 sono tra i fondatori dell’Associazione Acontemporaryart di cui sono Presidente; curo e organizzo esposizioni di artisti italiani e stranieri a Firenze, Roma, Venezia, Parigi, etc... Dal 2013 sono Direttore responsabile del giornale Florence is You, 20.000 copie cartacee ogni bimestre, aggiornamenti quotidiani online (www.florenceisyou.com), impostazione bilingue italiano-inglese e partners istituzionali da tutto il mondo. Nell’ottobre 2017 sono stata eletta Accademica d’Onore all’Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze, fondata nel 1563 da Giorgio Vasari e di cui Michelangelo fu primo Accademico. Volevo una macchina da scrivere americana, non una a caso, ma la Underwood, che è poi stata un regalo, decisamente degno di nota, di un fidanzato che per questo autentico merito è ora più di un fratello. Il motto preferito? Il latino “Per aspera ad astra”, ma anche il mediceo “Festina lente” come soleva dire Lorenzo il Magnifico. Anche Seneca ha dato alla mia vita il suo prezioso contributo: “Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est” (Lettere a Lucilio) ovvero “Non esiste vento favorevole per il marinaio che non sa a quale porto vuol approdare”. Più di un mantra, per me. Nella sostanza l’importante è avere le idee chiare e sapere cosa si vuole, da lì è tutto in discesa o, perlomeno, avremo compiuto il primo passo. Ho da sempre una passione per l’arte, pittura, scultura e fotografia espresse anche attraverso linguaggi molto diversificati, dal figurativismo di appannaggio propriamente tradizionale fino ad un lessico più astratto, a ricerche maggiormente concettuali. Scrivo di cultura, arte, cinema e viaggi, nell’ambito luxury travel e turismo enogastronomico. Sono appassionata di musica classica e jazz, con molteplici digressioni sul tema. Mi stanno molto a cuore le tematiche relative all’infanzia e all’educazione delle bambine. Amo i viaggi, anche quelli che non ho ancora fatto, la cioccolata fondente e la mia strepitosa torta di mele, ma, se devo essere sincera fino in fondo (ed ecco la nota del fashion editor che è in me), non posso vivere senza le scarpe di Manolo Blahnik, colui che più di ogni altro ha saputo amabilmente coniugare colore, seta e tacco 12.

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Growing up I always dreamt of becoming a journalist or studying quantum physics. I ended up graduating in Sociology and focused on the different kinds of leaderships through the enlightening works of William Shakespeare. However, I must have already had some level of clarity, as being a journalist is what I do and what I love doing. As artistic director, I have been the first woman to direct the Tepidarium del Roster at the Giardino dell’Orticoltura in Florence, the largest Liberty-style greenhouse in Italy and the smallest in Europe, built in 1859 by the Accademia dei Georgofili. I collaborate with art galleries and academies, schools, associations, museums, universities and foundations, mainly in Italy, China, the United States and Russia. In 2011, I was among the founders of the Acontemporaryart Association, of which I am now President; I curate and organize art shows by both Italian and foreign artists in Florence, Rome, Venice, Paris, etc. Since 2013, I am the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Florence is You, a bimonthly bilingual publication (Italian – English) with institutional partners from all over the world that counts 20.000 paper copiesper issue, as well as daily updates online (www.florenceisyou.com). In October 2017 I was elected Academic Honouree at the Academy of the Arts of Drawing in Florence, founded in 1563 by Giorgio Vasari, and of which Michelangelo was the first Academic. I always wanted an American typewriter, but not any ordinary one, I wanted an Underwood, which I received as a gift, greatly appreciated, from a former boyfriend, who is now more than a brother to me. My favourite motto? The Latin expression “per aspera ad astra,” but also the Medicean “Festina lente,” as said by Lorenzo the Magnificent. Seneca also gave his precious contribution to my life with his: “Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est” (Letters to Lucilius) or “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.” This is more than a mantra to me. Fundamentally, I believe that it’s important to have a clear mind as to what you want, then the rest is all downhill, or anyways it’s a first step. I’ve always had a passion for art, painting, sculpture and photography, expressed even through very different languages, from more traditional and figurative art to more abstract lexicons, or even conceptual researches. I write about culture, art, cinema and travel, in the fields of luxury travel and food and wine tourism. I’m passionate about classical and jazz music, with multiple digressions on the subject... Very close to my heart are issues relating to childhood and the education of little girls. I love to travel – even those trips I have yet to take – dark chocolate and my fabulous apple pie, although, if I must be entirely true (and here is the fashion editor in me), I cannot live without the shoes by Manolo Blahnik, he who more than anyone else has been able to amiably combine colour, silk and 12-inch heels.

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