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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Overwhelmed by art

Friday, April 15th., Pension White, Florence.

Orchestral concert last night in the Teatro Verdi. Conductor: Zuccano. Symphony in C Minor by Franchetti. Just as Grierson the other evening said that the Lear was the finest he had ever seen, so he said that the rendering of the Peer Gynt suite was the finest he had ever heard, and that the Franchetti symphony was just as good as a lot of Schubert and Schumann. Very few people in the audience.

Strike of scavengers, on account of a quarrel between a subordinate and his superior. Subordinate in prison: all his fellows go on strike. For two days the town has lain in filth. I am told it is a Socialistic Town Council. The Nazione preaches common-sense.

I had written 1,300 words of "Clayhanger" at 9.10 this morning.

Tombs of the Medici with Mr. Mock. This was a classic sensation if you like. It seemed to be the very highest altitude of art. Uncompromising and yet restrained realism. Also the Laurentinian Library, & the cloisters, the latter being sketchable.

Drove to S. Margharita a Montici this afternoon. Hot sunshine: heavy clouds: thunder. All the charm of the plain on which Florence lies is revealed in the course of this drive. Scores of villages lie in the western part of this plain, and each house of them glitters white in the sun. The colours on the hills are special to the country, and seem a novelty of combinations. But I have not yet seen Florence itself 'well-composed' from a distance. The tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, the campanile, The Duomo, and the chapel of the Medici each spoils the rest. And especially the campanile and the Duomo clash. There is no doing anything with them. But every day the overwhelming grandeur of the dome, as a unit, increases upon you. Also does the richness of the city in works of art of all kinds. Every day you come across new quantities, enormous quantities of really high class work. The Donatello etc. things, the M. Angelo tombs, & the MSS in the Library adjoining, would alone make the reputation of a city. And they are a mere trifling item in the total.

Additionally for April 15th., see 'Parisian evenings'

It was beautifully warm, indeed hot; but close and oppressive towards evening. Paris is at its best on these oppressive evenings, when all the cafes are full of crowded languor. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey by bus and steamer to Schwobs. The voyage from the Quai Voltaire to the Ile St. Louis, just before seven o'clock, was extremely impressive. It seemed to me as good as the Thames at its best.

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