AMHS Group Views Dante and Canova Exhibits
On July 9, 2023, a group of 13 AMHS members and friends toured the exhibit, “Going through Hell: The Divine Dante“ at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibit explores the influence of the Divine Comedy in 20 works of art from the collection of the National Gallery beginning with the 16th-century painting, Allegorical Portrait of Dante. The works in the exhibit range from rare early printed editions of the Divine Comedy to sculptures by Auguste Rodin who created them initially for his monumental project, The Gates of Hell, to works on paper from the 15th to the 20th century by William Blake and Robert Rauschenberg.
The group also used the opportunity to visit the exhibit “Canova: Sketching in Clay.“ Canova is one of the most famous artists of the revolutionary period in Europe. Working with his hands and small tools, Canova produced sketch models in clay. These models helped him plan his designs for his large statues in marble. More than 30 of his 60 or so surviving models were on display. Canova was born in 1757 in the commune of Possagno in the province of Treviso in the region of Veneto, Italy. Both his father and his grandfather were sculptors and stone carvers. Following the exhibit visits, the group had lunch together in the Cascades Café on the ground floor of the Gallery. Thanks to AMHS members Mark Lino, Chris Renneker, and Maria D’Andrea-Yothers for organizing this cultural and social outing.
Farewell to Fr. Diego Purcielli
By Nancy DeSanti
A farewell potluck lunch was held in the newly renovated Casa Italiana on Sunday, July 16, 2023, for Holy Rosary priest, Diego Puricelli, with many AMHS members in attendance. Father Diego returned to Rome on July 19, after completing his doctoral studies in bioethics at Georgetown University.
The organizer of the event was AMHS member, Maria Marigliano, who invited various organizations to say a few words about Father Diego. On behalf of the AMHS, Nancy DeSanti said that Father Diego had been a real blessing to the parish, but he had also brightened our AMHS events at Casa Italiana with his presence. She added: “I especially remember Father Diego discussing his doctoral studies with our Nobel Prize-winning speaker, Dr. John Mather, last January. Also, we noticed and appreciate how he greets parishioners coming to Mass and chats with them. So, while we are sad that he is leaving us, we are glad that he has successfully completed his studies here and is moving on to the next chapter of his life, in Italy, where he will be able to see his family. So, to Father Diego, we say ‘thank you’ for the blessing you have been to all of us.”
At Mass the following Sunday, a message from Father Diego was read, thanking everyone for his warm send-off, which he said he will always remember and appreciated so much.
Gathering of the Clan
AMHS Visits Da Vinci Exhibit
By Mark Lino
On August 21, members of AMHS visited “Imagining the Future — Leonardo da Vinci: In the Mind of an Italian Genius” at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., the last day of the show. The exhibit displayed drawings from Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, which belongs to Milan’s Biblioteca Ambrosiana. This is the first time any part of the codex was ever seen in the United States. Twelve pages of Da Vinci’s drawings, diagrams, and notes made between 1478 and the artist’s death in 1519 were on display.
Among the illustrations were mechanical wings for possible human flight, a perpetual motion machine designed to be powered by water, and an underwater breathing device. These drawings show how far ahead of his time da Vinci was. Those of us on the tour were also struck by the preservation of these 500-year-old drawings. Some looked like they were drawn only a few years ago!
“Imagining the Future” was sponsored by Confindustria, Italy’s national chamber of commerce, and several Italian companies to mark the recent opening of Confindustria’s first Washington office. Now that the show has ended, Da Vinci’s drawings will return to Milan, but they will not be shown there anytime soon. According to the Washington Post, the fragile pages will be put in the dark for three years to give them a rest once back in Milan. This made their brief exhibition in Washington even more of a special occasion.
After the tour of the exhibit, AMHS members went to lunch at Matchbox Pizza. They have a clam pizza, which one does not see at many DC-area pizzerias but is popular in Massachusetts, where AMHS member Mark Lino grew up. Special thanks to Maria D’Andrea-Yothers for organizing the Da Vinci outing.