Friday, June 12, 2009

Goodwill goes Italian

See this bowl? It is an Italian ceramic one that my mother-in-law gave me a couple of years ago. I love it and it's the perfect size (6 inches high by 9 inches diameter) for pasta salad, or potato salad, or any kind of salad. I love the colors and its versatility.


Well, yesterday on one of my regular forays into our local Goodwill store, I found her little sister!

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She is 3 inches high and 4 1/2 inches across. Perfect to hold sauces, salsas, or veggie dip. I couldn't be prouder! The only problem is now I realize that there was more than likely a set of sister bowls in in-between sizes.

The mark on the bottom is "ceramiche alfa". Alfa is an Italian ceramic tile maker that once made pottery as well. I looked on Replacements, Ltd., but they don't carry that pattern. I also went through eleven pages of Italian pottery on Ebay with no success, although I did see several pieces that I would like to own.

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My other Italian purchase was this book, The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland. I read it several years ago when my wonderful friend Lynn, the art history expert on Italian Renaissance, recommended it to me. It is the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, who was the first woman elected to the Accademia dell'Arte after years of struggle as an artist. At a young age, she was raped by her painting teacher, Agostino Tassi, and then put on trial for accusing him in public. It is a fascinating story.

If you would like to see a film featuring the the paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi, I highly recommend "Painted Lady", starring Helen Mirren, my most favorite actress. It was originally a two-part mini-series for the BBC and it was shown here in the states on Masterpiece Theatre about ten years ago. Dame Mirren is astounding in her portrayal of Maggie Sheridan, as she is in all of her work.

For a very different perspective on Gentileschi's life, there is the movie "Artemisia", which presents Gentileschi and Tassi as consensual lovers.


Carol said...

Don't you love it when you find something like that? It is beautiful.

Susan said...

Carol, it made my day! It doesn't take much! :)

Ruth said...

This post is full of great energy, Susie. The bowl sister is quite remarkable, and I've never even seen that pattern, so finding it like that after looking hard - awesome.

The story of this Artemisia is really something too. I've never heard of her. Does the BBC show go into the rape, I assume? I mean that is obviously a big part of her story. I do love Helen Mirren too - or I did until I saw her in a bikini photo at huffingtonpost last week and I wanted to kill her (or was it kiss her?). At 65 she looks like a goddess - and she played The QUEEN for heavens sake!!!!!


Sandy Nawrot said...

Now you can embark on a treasure sales, auctions, etc. to find your bowl's siblings! Isn't Mirren delightful? She lights up the screen. I don't know anything about Painted Lady..gonna have to look it up on Netflix!

Ladybug said...

Those bowls are lovely - a lucky find getting the smaller one.

You could have got a second post with the book! I'll make a note of that one; can try my library perhaps. A sad story. Helen Mirren's one of my faves, along with Judy Dench.

I've got blog block today.......

Susan said...

Ruthie, I was just scanning the shelves at Goodwill and there it was. I knew immediately it was a perfect match for my bowl at home! I just love it when that happens.

The Helen Mirren movie is actually about her character, Maggie Sheridan, a washed-up rock singer who is sponging off the good graces of an English estate owner. She is then accused of his murder and the theft of an extremely valuable Gentileschi painting is woven into the story. The only movie that actually tells about Artemisia's life is the one I linked in the post and it is much different than the accepted story. You should watch both, but I have to say "Painted Lady" was my favorite.

Susan said...

Sandy, maybe I should hire a detective agency to find the sisters! :)

I love la Mirren! The Prime Suspect series was wonderful and she is the main reason that "Gosford Park" is one of my fave movies. And when she is interviewed, she is so funny and bawdy! My kind of gal!

Diane said...

The bowls are lovely; great find --you must have been thrilled.

Susan said...

Ladybug, I was excited all day after that find!

Oh, I love Judi Dench too! I think most of my favorite actresses are British. Either one of those ladies can do no wrong, in my opinion.

I finally got over my block after ten days. I didn't even feel intelligent enough to comment on anyone's blog. Bleh!

California Girl said...

The story of the artist does sound fascinating.

I love it when I "find" something unexpected too.

It's funny about Helen Mirren. I once thought of her (20+ yrs ago) as kind of an attention grabber because she was often baring her breasts, etc. n her roles. I'm one to question those choices in women's roles. I do admire her greatly now. Not sure when the change came.

Susan said...

Cali Girl, you're right about Mirren. She was quite the bohemian free spirit in her younger days. Have you seen "Caligula"? I was up in the middle of the night once and happened to catch it on TV. Whoa! That was some weird movie.

You should read her autobiography, In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures. It tells ALL, and I do mean all. It also has tons of photos.

VioletSky said...

I must have been so entranced by your lovely bowls that I forgot to leave a comment about my love of finding such things - in Goodwill! I avoid looking for anything on ebay unless I know I have time to waste a couple of hours, because I will get lost and stay there forever, wishing, budgeting.

Yep, Helen Mirren in a bikini - that's sortof what I will look like when I am her age.

The Clever Pup said...

Nice, informative post. Thanks for becoming a follower.


Susan said...

Hey, Sanna! What's a couple more hours on the 'puter? Lord knows I waste plenty of time on here already.

I wish I looked like Helen Mirren in a bikini right now! Ain't gonna happen! lol It's bad enough in a one-piece.

Susan said...

Thanks, Hazel, for the compliment and for visiting! I'll be visiting you from time to time.

The Bumbles said...

Hey - how fun is that to find a match?!

I have a tea cup from a wedding shower that is so pretty I'm afraid to use it.

Cindy said...

Those bowls are beautiful! I also have an Italian pottery collection. And if I ever get to creating that post on "5 things that make me happy," that will be on it. A few years ago I was lucky enough to arrive at one of our local Goodwill stores just in time to find them unpacking a large Italian urn complete with the original sticker labeling the workshop where it was created. Finds like this can keep me happy for quite a while!!

Susan said...

Hey, Molly! It was sooo much fun! My philosophy is use what you have because life is too short.

Susan said...

Thanks, Cindy! I can't wait to see your Italian dishes. I'm thinking I might need to redecorate my kitchen to reflect my new love. I think your Goodwill find tops mine!