Putting the Pieces Together – Painting Cagli

Or, how a painting gets made, Cagli is a small town in Le Marche, Italy, near the Umbrian border and the city of Gubbio. It has a long history and nestles neatly between the mountains alongside the old Via Flaminio, which linked ancient Rome with the Adriatic Sea.

Finding Cagli

Cagli's buildings

Cagli’s buildings

It took a while to piece together the painting and even having spent time walking it’s streets and looking at the buildings still meant a snap decission about the composition couldn’t be made. Eventually the form started to take shape and a bright cream town will rise from the lusious fields with a blue/grey mountainous background to frame the picture.

Raphael's trees

Raffaello’s trees

There were a couple of things I wanted to include. Firstly that is linked in with its sister painting – Cantiano. This I’ve done by extending the Cantiano hills, the sky and the SP3 Superstrada across onto the left-hand side of the Cagli painting. I also decided to have some more of Raffaello Stanzio’s trees in the work as he was born in nearby Urbino.

Cagli’s old map

Cagli map

Studies from the 1670 Map

Whilst walking the streets I came upon a shop with a reproduction of a 1670 street map of the town. This was a wonderful find and luckily it has been uploaded onto the internet. Each street block is delicately filled with buildings to give a wonderful impression of the town some 345 years ago.

I’ve taken some of these street blocks and building patterns and included them in the foreground of the painting. Using this and the more recognisable structures to construct a view of the city, with the Appennine Mountains in the background.

Colouring Le Marche

Cagli town centre

View of Cagli’s town wall

The colours I plan to use will be the typical terracotta, cream and ochres in the buildings set against a steely blue mountain with turquise and verdant green vegetation. This will be capped of with the continuation of the dramatic orange, pink and purple sky.


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