John Palcewski (forioscribe) wrote,
John Palcewski

A Poet & Her Aunt

Vittoria LJ.jpg

This is a fresco by an anonymous 16th century Neapolitan artist entitled "Madonna of Mercy," which I photographed a few years ago at the convent of Sant Antonio di Padova, in Ischia Ponte. Renaissance poet Vittoria Colonna (at right) and her aunt Costanza d' Avalos presided over literary gatherings at Castello Aroganese.

from: A.S. Brundin
reply-to: Abigail
to: John Palcewski
date: Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 2:22 PM
subject: Re: Vittoria Colonna, cont.

Dear John,

After many years, I am coming back to you once again in the hopes that this is still the way to contact you. I am after permissions, as usual! We are publishing a 'Companion to Vittoria Colonna' with Brill, and a Swiss academic, Gaudenz Freuler, has written a piece on Colonna in portrait, including discussion of the Ischia altarpiece. Would it be possible to reprint your photograph (this time of the entire central panel, rather than just a detail of Vittoria) in the book? We will send you a copy to add to your library, of course! Do let me know.

Am I right that you moved back from Ischia to the US? Do you still keep your links with the island? I thought I had stopped working on Colonna some years ago, but she keeps coming back to haunt me!

All good wishes,

Vittoria A.jpg

Vittoria B.jpg

from: John Palcewski
to: Abigail
date: Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 3:54 PM
subject: Re: Vittoria Colonna, cont.

Greetings, Abigail!

So good to hear from you. As it happens I've just arrived back on the island for my usual September visit, and yes, I moved to the US several years ago.

As for permission for photos, yes, of course. Feel free to use whatever you'd like. I hope you have on hand whatever you require, because my negative files are still back in the US. I'll return to the US at the end of the month and could look up the VC stuff.

Let me know!

Best regards,

Best regards,

from: A.S. Brundin
to: John Palcewski
date: Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 4:16 PM
subject: Re: Vittoria Colonna, cont.

Hi John,

Well I wasn't expecting such a quick-fire response! Many thanks indeed for your willingness once again to let me use your images. Who would have thought that favour you did me all those years ago would have such a long afterlife! I had a major house burglary recently including all computers and my files are all in a mess, although all backed up somewhere or other thank goodness. On email I can find the detail of Colonna's face that you sent me in 2007 for the cover of my book. I will ask Prof. Freuler if he also needs an image of the whole central panel, and if so I may need to come back to you once you are back stateside to ask for that, if I can't dig it out of my hard-drive or don't have it in the right resolution.

Thank you!


from: John Palcewski
to: Abigail
date: Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 4:46 PM
subject: Re: Vittoria Colonna, cont.

Abigail, I'm back and found the fresco in my neg archives. I recall that in Sonnets for Michelangeo it's in b&w, so if your colleague wants color I can send you/him a high-resolution color JPEG email attachment.

BTW, I happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped by that convent and tried to get in to see if they'd finally "restored" the fresco as they'd promised to do several years ago, but no, the entire church is being remodeled or repaired, and no, it was not possible for me to come in to get a glimpse of the fresco because it is "all covered." When will the restoration be complete? Next year, the guy said with not a trace of irony.

Anyway, if you already have what you need, fine, and if you want the color version that's fine too...


from: Abi Brundin
to: John Palcewski
date: Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 4:07 AM
subject: Re: Vittoria Colonna, cont.

Hi John! Thanks so much for pre-empting, I had in my diary to contact you on Monday (give you time to get over the jet lag!). Yes indeed, this time we are planning to publish the image in colour, so a high res colour JPEG would be excellent (300 dpi is what they ask for as minimum I believe for colour). You can send it to me and I will let my colleague know I have it. We are once again really grateful! I will make sure you are credited with the image, and if you send me your current postal address I’ll pass it on to Brill so they can send you a copy of the book as soon as it is out.

It took the Vatican Library 5 years to remodel their entrance security system, so the time frame for the convent in Ischia sounds entirely reasonable, in Italy-time!

All good wishes, and thanks again,

Dr Abigail Brundin
Reader in Early Modern Literature and Culture
Department of Italian
Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
University of Cambridge

St Catharine's College
Cambridge CB2 1RL
Direct Line: 01223 338305

from: John Palcewski
to: Abi Brundin
date: Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 7:57 AM
subject: Re: Vittoria Colonna, cont.

Greetings, Abigail, my guy at the lab says the scan will be ready next Tuesday. He went into a lecture about how it's not a good idea to send images as JPEG attachments to emails because they may be degraded by the servers of the recipients, etc., etc., which I've never before experienced and which certainly didn't occur, obviously, in the case of that closeup of Vittoria on the cover of your other book.. In any event, I'll send the attachment as planned. If troubles occur in the transmission, I can simply send you via UPS or whatever the CD on which the scan will be imprinted.


from: John Palcewski <>
to: Abi Brundin <>
date: Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:59 PM
subject: Re: Vittoria Fresco

Abi, UPS just delivered "A Companion to Vittoria Colonna." I have to say that I'm honored to be a small part of that formidable intellectual achievement. The printers did a great job on reproduction. Excellent work all around. Many thanks!!!

from: Abi Brundin <>
to: John Palcewski <>
date: Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:25 PM
subject: Re: Vittoria Fresco

Great news you got the book, it wouldn’t be what it is without your image! That chance e-encounter 16 or so years ago has proved remarkably long-lived and very productive (at least for me!). Grateful thanks again, John.

website statistics

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.