It wasn’t until I visited Greece a few years ago that I really got a good look at live olive trees. Despite being an agricultural powerhouse, the trunk of the olive tree is twisted and deeply etched. The foliage is expansive but not dense. In the shade, the bark and leaves appear to have grey-blue undertones. These are visually interesting, complex and very hardy looking trees. With a new found appreciation for these Mediterranean wonders, a huge light-bulb went off at the (abridged) Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The olive tree was possibly the best subject in the natural world for Vincent van Gogh and has resulted in some of my new favorite paintings in this catalog.
Posts tagged ‘Greece’
Some people buy clothes, crafts or nicknacks as souvenirs when they travel. I like to buy food!
While driving in the Peloponnese, I stopped in a small town grocery store to get car snacks and water. Since I think its fun to browse foreign food items, I wandered up and down the short aisles. I happened upon a shelf of these boxes:
I recognized the casserole on the front as Pastitsio – the Greek equivalent of lasagna made with thin tube pasta, meaty sauce and a fluffy topping. So I bought a box. Read more
So many European cities are jumbles of art and architecture, a testament to the evolving history of the urban area. Beneath these modern cities are fractured layers of a Renaissance, Gothic and Ancient past, but you have to try hard to imagine how things looked during any one period. It’s truly amazing to find a city that retains its character from one specific age. The abandoned Byzantine city of Mystras in the mountains just above Sparta in the Southern Peloponnese, is one such frozen city. You can walk through the ruined streets and largely intact religious buildings of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and be right back in 1350 AD.
By traveling in Greece and Turkey, I’ve learned a lot more about Classical art and architecture. I find myself describing the ancient sites I’ve seen and usually slip something in about how “bright and colorful” it must have been. That usually stops the conversation. No one believes that ancient Greek and Roman statues were painted! I myself am still trying to wrap my head around what that would have looked like. But it’s true, and now I have my own photographic evidence that statues were colorful: