Sadly, this year's travel plans have been supplanted with overdue home projects, including the hanging and cataloging of my personal collection of paintings and other artwork. So this summer, in lieu of an overseas getaway, I could only gaze wistfully at framed pictures as I hung them—many of them reminding me of my favorite travel destinations (and vacations gone by). Let me share a few of them with you. Alas, this shall be the extent of my romantic journeys for Summer 2020. On the whole, I have little to complain of. In the meantime, I'll enjoy a few more "little journeys,' gazing at my pictures of my favorite places.
Rome is one of my favorite places! I could happily visit The Eternal City every year. And no Roman sojourn is complete without a visit to Saint Peter's Basilica—the crown jewel in the tiara of the Catholic Church. In this place, so many of my favorite things come together!
First: my faith. As a Catholic, I am overwhelmed by the importance of the Basilica to so many fellow Catholics from around the world. Standing at "the crossroads" of a billion pilgrimages, one cannot help but feel that s/he is only a small part of something much, much bigger. I appreciate being reminded of this important lesson; No, I am not the center of the world. Saint Peter, charged as first leader of the Church, lies at rest beneath the magnificent altar and baldacchino.
Then there's my all-time favorite artist, Michelangelo. Not only did he design the basilica's vast dome, but he contributed one of the artistic highlights for be found under this structure (or anywhere)—The Pietà (completed when he was merely 24 years old). And we must not forget Michelangelo's two painted masterpieces, just next door: the ceiling frescoes and The Last Judgement, painted in the Sistine Chapel.
Now let's add Sculpture! Whether you fancy carved stone or cast bronze, Saint Peter's will never disappoint! Little marble angels (each bigger than a sumo wrestler) greet you near the door—struggling to bear the weight of gigantic holy water fonts. Over the altar, the twisted "Solomonic" columns of bronze support the massive canopy of Bernini's baldacchino—and are covered with little bronze bees (the symbol of the powerful and wealthy Barberini family). And an 800 year old bronze sculpture of Saint Peter sits in blessing—his right foot polished flat by the kisses of millions of Catholics who have come to the basilica.
The picture above (only a small detail is shown) was painted by my partner, Robert Perdziola, as the painted backdrop for a production of Tosca (which premiered at the Cincinnati Opera in 2015). Since then, the production has travelled to Detroit and Montreal. The first time I saw the design, I strongly hinted how much I wanted it once the actual (larger) backdrop had been painted. I was rewarded at Christmastime—and the picture now hangs over our bed.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248