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This report is taken from PN Review 177, Volume 34 Number 1, September - October 2007.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

24 April 2007

All day in Cortona we have been seeing below us, in the foreground of the tremendous landscape with patchworks of crops, woods, suburbs, villages, and the Roman road coming across all this straight at us, the tall drum and dome and cruciform roofs, the round windows cut in deep, of S. Maria al Calcinaio, the ultimate purpose of the visit so far as I am concerned. Francesco di Giorgio. It is open from 4 pm until 7. We park at the front, under a hedge, without much shade. The grass is rough and weedy under the walls. The stone is grey-brown and rather ravaged. Chunks have been knocked out, tips have been chipped, carving on rims has been bitten into. Everything seems dusty. But the bleached wood doors have a leaf set open and we are not too early to get in.

Often one is blinded with the gloom when one steps in out of the dazzle. In here there is whitewash, and grey pietra morta, the Florentine formula, but, as I knew, handled without the streamlining and dash. One can see at once. The floor is terracotta, all over. Huge empty floor space. A high building. Three chapels a side in the nave, with Signorelli style altarpieces, the main sources of colour, together with the main altar ahead, a round arched tabernacle, more Signorelli angels there, and some burst of gilt metal. Two sets of candles, ...


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