Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When the Mind Turns to Beauty

Surrounded by these magnificent frescoes, we enjoyed several delightful conversations with Doreen, the owner of Hotel Scoti in Florence, Italy. Reviewing the changes in civilization influenced by the Renaissance, she talked about art, the wealthy opening their private libraries to the public, the abolishment of capital punishment, and other related topics when she said something that has been pleasantly in my head ever since: "When the mind turns to beauty, transformation occurs." I believe this to be true and know that the best times in my life were filled with a sense of awe for the beauties of life; the worst were those in which I could not find something beautiful in a situation. For now, her words are an eloquently simple inspiration for optimism, focus and direction—a beautiful start to a new year.

Doreen and her husband had the frescoes, painted in 1770, restored several years ago and told us the restorer had to show her methods to a panel of judges in order to be approved to do the work. Forbidden to use any kind of scrubbing action, her method was to lay thin rice paper over the fresco and carefully "paint" a detergent over the paper. Doreen said the amount of soot and yellowing that transferred to the paper was impressive.


  1. Good to see you posting again, Martha - your long break made your blog momentarily invisible for me. Now I have quite some stuff to read!

  2. Very puzzling, Markus, as I published this years ago. I did revisit this page yesterday, though. The fact that you are seeing this as a new post makes me feel as if we've fallen into The Twilight Zone.