Stephanie Bower

Stephanie Bower | Architectural Illustration: | Sketching Workshops: | Sketches: on Instagram at @stephanieabower & | Urban Sketchers Blog Correspondent | Signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society

Monday, August 4, 2014

Inside the Chiesa San Donato on a hot day

Today, it felt like summer in Italy again.  So in the heat of the day, I wandered over to the dark Chiesa San Donato, to attempt a second version of the sketch I did last year which I loved and will probably never surpass.  But this time, different proportions and paper (part of my project series), and I wanted to talk more about some of the detail in the church, of which there is much. I also want to use the finished sketch as part of my walking guide, so it would be useful to show more of the church content. But looking at it now, I think I probably went overboard with the detail and should have left it sketchier. We'll see once it gets color!!

I really like this is most likely built atop an Etruscan or Roman temple (note the remnants of columns on the exterior), probably built by the Longobardi (Lombards from the north who were in this part of Italy roughly 500-700AD--thank you, Wikipedia), then renovated various times, especially on the exterior facade.  

And the church is full of stuff, a lot of interesting stuff.  I really like the basic white Romanesque layout and simple arches, then in various spots one finds an explosion of detail, gilt, history. Not fussy, but rather casual, a little dusty, like a real church and not for show. Also inside are the relics (as in preserved remains) of two saints--Santa Vittoria who was martyred in 251AD and St. Hildebrand who died in 873AD.  San Donato himself was from Arezzo and was martyred during the 300's.  Then there are the Roman, Medieval, and maybe even Etruscan remants either incorporated into the building or lying around in some corner.  Well worth a close look to see this profusion and history.

Tomorrow, the color version...

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