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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

45.5415526, 10.2118019

Thurs. 19. [19 March 1896] Grey and cold. Went up to the upper town,
tried to see Lottos on the way, but only succeeded in seeing one big
altarpiece, a Virgin and child with 10 saints - very disappointing I
thought; cold and unpleasing in colour. It was San Giuseppe and all
the churches were full of praying people. In the upper town the square
containing the Broletto is very attractive and the Broletto itself
charming with round arched windows full of tracery like Early English
work; a picturesque staircase at one side and a lovely square stone
tower. Through the arches of the Broletto is seen Sta Maria
Maggiore, with an exquisite and elaborate porch of 3 columned
stories [sic] with statues in the 2 upper ones. The Apse too is very
lovely, with an arcade of round arches in the middle of it. This arcade
reappears in unexpected places round the church. To the left of the n.
door stands the Colleoni chapel in coloured marbles, not very
pleasing. The faÁade looks more like a pavement than a faÁade.
Inside a beautiful tomb of Colleoni with 2 sarcophagi and elaborate
figures, topped by a gold statue of C. himself on horseback; all the
sarcophagi carved in bas relief. Done by Amadeo who also did the
tomb of Medea Colleoni to the left on entering - also very lovely and
simple. The figure of the girl in straight draperies lying with the head a
little turned to the chapel and a string of pearls round her neck. Roof
frescoed by Tiepolo - I give Tiepolo up! We walked up as high as we
cd get and then decided that we had had enough of Bergamo - no
view, the plain of Lombardy lost in mist. We went down along a very
nice road on the top of the fortifications of the old town, till we came to
the Museo Carrara. Here are 3 collections - those of Lochis[?] which
seemed to me of moderate interest, of Carrara where I noticed
several Vivarinis, some Moroni portraits and pictures by
Bergamaschi whom I don't much care for, and that of Morelli which
was the only one I really looked at. Noticed 2 fine pictures of saints, a
portrait of Guiliano de Medici by Botticelli, a beautiful Matteo di
Giovanni (54), a fine portrait of a man by Basaiti and of a woman by
Mirando and a portrait of Morelli himself by Lenbach. The way
Bergamo ....... its hilltop is very lovely - for the rest, disappointing.
Back to our hotel where we lunched and caught the 1 o'clock train.
Reach Brescia l'anuata at 3. Went out to see galleries - in one a
Raphael, the risen Lord, very lovely, and an exquisite portrait by
Cesare da Sesto; in another tds[?] of Morettos and Romaninos taken
out of the churches. Here was a real joy - the S. Niccolo bringing 2
orphans to the Virgin and Child. Exquisite. The bending figure of the
virgin with the child in her arms as lovely as anything cd be and the
bishop with the two children in front of him and 2 little pages behind
quite delightful. Also a lovely Moretto Supper at Emmaus, very noble
and full of feeling. The heads of the Christ and the 2 apostles very
fine. He is just breaking the bread. Walked up to the square of the
Duomos. The old Duomo terribly cut about. Next to it the great
square Torre del Popolo[?], then the Broletto, terribly mauled. The
windows have brick arches and must have been very nice. Inside a
cloistered quadrangle; all the windows cut into and effaced. A rather
nice 18th cent balcony round one side. Next to this a lovely brick
building with a round window of cast brickwork and a noble brick
cornice running all round the top. Back to our inn, the Gambero, where
we had chocolate. Our rooms are delightful, opening onto a balcony.
After dinner we went to the play - Le Campane di Corneville. Fine
house, scanty audience, shocking singing and the ladies of the ballet
- !!! Not a petticoat between them! Lots of officers who shrieked with
delight when the ballet appeared and greeted them by their Christian
names. They didn't seem much distressed at being beaten.

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