Thursday, June 30, 2016

The All-Pervasive Acanthus (All-Over Italy)

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence
Boboli Gardens, Florence
Acanthus. This beautiful flower has caught my eye ever since I first arrived in Italy and saw it’s long spike inflorescence. Originally I related it to Bells of Ireland because of the relatable spike-like shape but I soon found out I was completely wrong. Not only did this flower pop out to me in gardens and the like but it also surrounded me in the architecture and paintings that practically cover the extent of Italian geography. In architecture, it is not so much the flower that designers etched on to these beautiful columns but the leaves. In lecture we learned that the acanthus has been in the minds of builders from many periods in time. The design of the acanthus has morphed and changed but still always related back to the spiny leaves. I believe that the reason for this explosion of acanthus in architecture and design is due to the fact that the acanthus is native to the Mediterranean region. Regardless of why, it has been a comfort for me to be able to recognize at least something in all of these new surroundings. I also hope that I can somehow incorporate the acanthus into my daily life, whether it be in décor, paintings, or simply the plant in my garden. - BP
Madonna della Loggia by Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi Museum, Florence

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