The Foot of An Angel

Earl came home today with a painting. Unfinished, but there was enough on the canvas to see where he's going. That is, once I took it outside in late afternoon light. Suddenly, there it was, filled with figures in dark rich colors making love and not. Big Bend landscapes through the portals.
I said, "I see a foot dropping down into the landscape below."
"Titian did that in his altarpiece for Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari," he said. "We saw it when we were in Venice."
You can clearly see the NO PHOTOS sign right in the middle of the stair steps up to the alter.
Guess we managed one photo in spite of the sign. Taken surreptitiously, surely.
"Tell me more about the foot," I said.
"Titian was making a connection between the heavenly and earthly spheres in this alter piece. One of the angels is dipping a foot into the temporal world. Titian's work was, at the time, the largest oil painting ever undertaken. Titian was in his mid-20s and the painting's size and scale made his reputation."
As Charlie Bean might say, "Earl knows his art history." Though Charlie would be referencing basketball as in, "Mameau knows her basketball."
I searched Missives From Rome - that blog I posted in throughout and after our trip to Italy two years ago - and found the original post I wrote the night after seeing this painting and the incredible church in which it is placed. The pictures I took in the church of tombs and clocks and other strangely juxtaposed  features (at least, strange to my eyes) are the same as those I pulled off a hard drive for this post. I love each of them because of unintended juxtapositions.
Earl ventured into these Italian churches he deemed 'important' because of specific paintings. I followed him, noted the paintings, and then became transfixed with marble floors, strange tombs, ill-scaled doorways and oddly placed chairs.
Paint on, Mr. Staley. You are taking me back to our Italian sojourn. Earl tells me that he will change the foot in this unfinished painting. It should dangle in space. It should not touch earth in any way. Closer to Titian's intent.
You gotta love this man who paints and knows what he's doing.

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