A few years ago he published a very entertaining and pleasant book, Il Museo Immaginato, where he plays at designing an ideal museum where he can hang any work of art.
The virtual institution about which he fantasizes in the book, that would be designed like a house and include a kitchen ( with works by Zurbaran, Cotan, Campi, Rembrandt ), a cellar ( Velasquez, who else?), a dining room with paintings by Veronese, and so on.
Do you want to appear as scholarly snob as Mr Daverio in his trademark bowtie? Clearly indicate your belonging to continental culture ?
Here are some expressions I picked up in the book that you can carelessly drop in your arty conversation:
HANCHEMENT ( or Contrapposto): the body posture of classic sculpture where the weight is supported by one leg ( Standbein, let's throw in some German too) while the other (Spielbein) is relaxed. Useful also to describe Cranach's postures.
DRANG NACHT SÜDEN: it's the pull towards the South. Barbaric hordes felt the call to cross the Alps, and Goethe of course, but why not apply it to all the Gran Tourists and to the northerners dwelling in the Riviera, such as Matisse ?
VERGISSEMEINNICHT: what? Do you still call this humble blue flower from Durer's Adoration forget-me-not ? Then you wouldn't be referencing its importance in medieval German culture as a symbol of enduring love and, later, freemasonry.
MENUS PLAISIRS : No, this is not found in restaurants, it's the part of a royal household that would have organised events and celebrations. The aristocratic personality responsible for the Menus Plaisirs was in charge, for example, of the design of porcelains or ephemeral decorations, fireworks and music.
NICCHIO: that's a scallop, but not in its edible form. The Coquille Saint Jaques was the symbol of Saint James, it's were Botticelli's Venus stands and is seen in many architectural niches ( hence the name) both painted in trompe l'oeil or sculpted. Piero della Francesca has genially reversed it in his Pala di Brera and made it into a striking element from which an ostrich egg ( an animal that at the time thought of as hermaphrodite, so self-fecundating) is hanging.
WUNDERKAMMER: of course you already know about this cabinet of wonders that was the favourite guilty pleasures of princes and dukes all over Europe. Who was the trend-setter?
It was the typically prognathous Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II , who had withdrawn to his castle in Prague and was curing his melancholy with compulsive collectionism.
FLOHPELTZ: It's that soft and luxurious fur worn by Parmigianino's young girl and many other painted ladies; apparently it was used to attract lice and fleas away from the body and head. I confess I might have a jacket with a furry collar... seems much less nice now.
ACCROCHAGE: You are not really still calling it the museum's "display", are you?
DAS LAND WO DIE ZITRONEN BLÜHN: Goethe again, speaking about Italy, the land where lemons bloom. Stick some French in your sentences and you are sophisticated, but try German and you'll be... übercool
Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco is an Italian painter living in London.