I’m working on a painting of Orvieto in the southern part of Umbria. This ancient town stands on top of a tuff outcrop, which are the remains of a long extinct volcano. This already dramatic sight is made all the more so by the magnificent duomo that proudly highlights the town.
For this Signorelli was paid 800 ducats, lodgings and two measures of wine each month. Now I like that idea, especially as Orvieto is famous for its pale yellow wine, favoured by popes and princes alike.
The soft tuffa rock beneath Orvieto, makes tunnelling easy and along with a 65 metre well there are numerous caverns, rooms and secret passage ways. These are also prone to collapsing and from time to time there are the odd landslides . Lets hope the erosion doesn’t cause the same fate as nearby Civita di Bagnoregio, which these days is all but abandoned.
The painting shows off the town’s sheer cliff face with its ramps and walls with the sprawling collection of woodland, olive groves and of course vineyards around the base. We’ve had a couple of days of impressive, stormy weather recently, so the sky will most likely reflect this. Lots of orange, yellow and pinks with rays of light piercing the scene.