Gubbio – The Saint, The Wolf and a Race, watercolor and ink. 36 cm x 68 cm (For Sale)
Gubbio is a fascinating town in Umbria, said to be one of Noah’s first twelve cities, it is also the place where St Francis spoke to a wolf, who was terrorising the residents. Each May there is a famous mountain race where three teams carry 25 foot totems to the basilica above.
Ceri dei Gubbio
The main landmarks around Gubbio are depicted including the ancient Roman amphitheater, the churches of saints Francesco, Ubaldo and Pietro as well as the magnificent Palazzo dei Consoli.
The painting is a sister to the one of Assisi with the sky following from one to the other. It is painted with a lack of linear perspective as a way of exploring differing ways of depicting depth.
Palazzo dei Consoli
The style is a modern interpretation of the Medieval Gothic work of such artists as Giotto and Martini who were both active in this region over 700 years ago. Great examples of their works are shown in Assisi.
The painting employs a pallet typical of the era. With earthy tones and the occasional splash of colour thrown in. Ultramarine was especially reserved for depictions of the Madonna and so a cerulean blue is used instead for the sky.
The greens are mainly viridian, sap and terra verde with titanium and Chinese whites providing the highlights. As always vermilion is used for the bright red roof tiles.
Gubbio was one of the first 12 cities created, by Noah, after the biblical flood. It is also where St Francis talked a wolf out of terrorising the residents. The painting shows the main landmarks and obvious points of reference around the town.
Cable car view of Gubbio
Perched on the mountain top is the Monastery of St Ubaldo that can be reached by cable car. It is here that they light the famous giant Christmas tree each year. In the foreground is the ancient Roman amphitheater, which is still in use today, along with the Palazzo dei Consoli and the churches of St Francis and St Peter.
Halfway up the hillside the remains of the town’s defenses poke out of the olive groves and scrub, with the crumbling towers and debris clearly visible as you approach the town. Gubbio itself is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and interesting buildings, fountains, piazzas and shops.
Giotto’s trees in Assisi
At present the painting starts to capture the grey and tan stonework that have been used in the town’s construction. These are played off against the trees and bushes that are scattered around Gubbio’s streets.
The large trees pay homage to Giotto di Bondone, who worked around Umbria 900 years ago and a collection of his frescoes can be seen in Assisi.
A little more work and we’re there.