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John Palcewski's Journal

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Giovanni de Angelis
forioscribe



















Giovanni de Angelis raises a cloud as he attacks an elongated chunk of pale white Cararra marble with a pneumatic chisel. Slowly emerging is the stylized figure of a nude swimmer.

I ask him about his terra cotta bas relief of lovers on the corner of a shop on Via Roma, which prompted me to search out his atelier in Ischia Ponte. “What is its title?”
He shrugs. “Amore.”
“Uomo e donna? Donna e donna?”
“Love is love,” he smiles.



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Does he have to reconcile that with Catholicism?

Hello, georgelazenby: Italians have always had a rather peculiar attitude toward authority, including that of The Church. Kind of like blades of grass during a heavy storm. They readily bend, but never break. As for Giovanni, his personality reflects an acute but tolerant intelligence...which puts him at considerable distance from troublesome dogma.

Italy has always struck me as almost one big dicotomy. It must be interesting living in a place where things like Church dogmas must co-exist with the leading edge of fashion and style. Are there public debates as to who's right or is just live and let live?

This is among many things that have intrigued me about Italy. The blades of grass metaphor describes how Italians have coped with invading armies and their attempts to impose political systems, etc., literally hundreds of them over the centuries.

But to be more specific about the defensive strategy, it all comes down to the family. In the great book "The Italians" by Luigi Barzini (himself an Italian journalist) is this passage:

"An Italian will still choose to stand by his family, in a crisis, against the carabinieri, the police, the courts, public opinion, and even at times his own conscience, because the family has for so long been the only reliable vessel on a sea of troubles, which will always float to safety with all its crew and contents."

Public debates? They're not necessary.

Interesting. I suppose the first thing that leaps to mind for an American as the obvious example is the Mafia.

I absolutely agree with John that family is the cornerstone of everything in Italy. Mafia is but one of many manifestations of it.

Also (may be this is so essential in family life) Italians are fantastically tolerant. They are religious and very respectful of the Church, too, but they never mix this world and the other.

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