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Art of Healing artworks return to San Giovanni di Dio – The Florentine



Art of Healing artworks return to San Giovanni di Dio

Linda Falcone

July 20, 2021 – 13:52

In June 2021, just two weeks before Advancing Women Artists’ definitive closure, the Ancient Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio in borgo Ognissanti welcomed two newly restored ovals by eighteenth-century artist Violante Ferroni. The Art of Healing began in 2019 and, for AWA, the permanent display of these large-scale works representing charity, new life and good health are an appropriate end to the organization’s conservation work. 

From initial infrared diagnostics to cleaning, consolidation, varnishing and re-stretching, there are many phases to the conservation process. Beyond the technical elements involved in conservation, it is an honor to watch a forgotten artist come to life, as conservators discuss her technique, discover her personality and find clues that will inspire “art detectives” of the future. 

After years with Violante Ferroni, conservators Marina Vincenti and Elizabeth Wicks find answers and ask new questions, as they share their “takeaway” thoughts.

Saint John of God Heals Victims of the Plague by Violante Ferroni

Marina Vincenti

“Enter, stage right”

“There are mostly female figures in Saint John of God Heals Victims of the Plague. One, in particular, introduces us into the scene. The figure wearing a red dress captures our attention and, at the same time, draws us into the painting, into this intimate atmosphere, inside this room, where a miracle is taking place. In Saint John of God Gives Bread to the Poor, there are more male figures. We have a mother with her child and a female figure wearing a bodice, but other than that, they are all men: poor men and friars. Then, we have a male figure seen from the back, who has rather pronounced musculature and he provides a clue to Violante Ferroni’s interest in anatomy.” 

A signature piece

“During the conservation process, the most exciting thing that can happen is to find a trace of the painter. I believe that artist Violante Ferroni wanted to leave us some clues that would lead us to the discovery of her signature. At a certain point, I was cleaning the background of Saint John of God Gives Bread to the Poor. In its rocky landscape, I found what looked like her initials carved on one of the stones. No one gave much importance to this possibility at first, but I felt it was an invitation to keep looking! Sure enough, a few days later, in the darkest part of the stone structure on the painting’s lower right-hand side, I found her authentic signature.”

Saint John of God Gives Bread to the Poor by Violante Ferroni

Elizabeth Wicks

Discovering an artist’s personality

Violante worked with very quick brushstrokes and just a bit of impasto. It gives you the idea that she was a real professional who was very sure of what she was doing. If you are timid as a painter, you tend to paint much tighter, but she is painting loosely, she is painting in bold strokes. She is painting fast! I think it’s very significant that these works are in a public hospital. For a female artist to have received such a large, prestigious commission in the mid-18th century attests to the fact that Violante Ferroni must have had a very good, solid reputation at the time.” 

A new theory emerges for Saint John of God Heals Plague Victims

“We realize by looking at the crown of flowers on the child’s head that this child was given up for dead… Now what we don’t know is whether this was actually an anonymous child who symbolizes Saint John of God healing victims of the plague, which is what art historians have said in the past. There is another theory derived from a legend about a disciple of Saint John of God, a healer who worked for the Court of Spain. Could the young child in Violante’s painting have gone on to become the future king, Philip IV of Spain? We know the infant suffered from spells in which he became violently ill and that he was cured by a monk while lying in the Queen’s arms. Was Violante depicting this very scene in her ovals at the ancient Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio?”

Returned to their home in San Giovanni di Dio


With heartfelt thanks… 

To project supporters

Advancing Women Artists, Robert Lehman Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ‘The Mud Angels meet the Art Angels’ with Florida State University Florence and Lion’s Fountain, Rauch Foundation

And our institutional partners

Azienda USL Toscana Centro, Fondazione Santa Maria Nuova Onlus, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la città metropolitana di Firenze e le province di Pistoia e Prato

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Inaugural art festival to showcase the work of artists in southwest Saskatchewan –



Since some tourists like to travel in September when crowds are smaller, an organization in southwest Saskatchewan wants to attract those people for an inaugural arts festival occurring in several area communities.

The Cypress Hills Grasslands Destination Area (CHGDA) organization has organized the first Southwest Art Fest, which encompasses multiple art genres such as painting, drawing, pottery, quilting, photography, film, music and other visual arts. 

The event runs from Sept. 1 to 30 and gives artists throughout that area the chance to showcase their artwork. Artists are encouraged to find a venue in which to feature their material and vice versa.

The CHGDA has 36 partners in dozens of communities throughout the province’s southwest corner and southeast Alberta.        

Blaine Filthaut, owner and artist with the Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery and Gift Store in Maple Creek, explained that September is the best month for his business since “a different type of tourist travels at that time.” Furthermore, since there are few scheduled activities across the area, the CHGDA wanted to fill that month in an organized way. 

“The concept comes from almost like a city art walk, where you go on a third Thursday of the month are walks at this location, and you go,” he said. “And on those concepts, usually what happens is an artist finds a venue or a venue finds an artist that wants to participate.” 

However, an art walk is impossible for small towns, especially when they are scattered across more than 42,000 square kilometres of southwest Saskatchewan, Filthaut continued. This is unfortunate since there are “a huge amount of great artists” in the area. 

“Like the whole area, I’m saying there are many artists not well known, and art as a culture in Saskatchewan isn’t the highest thing on the list, either, so this is also a nice way to be promoting the arts,” he added.

This festival also helps address the issue of towns holding activities and their neighbours not knowing about them. This event ensures all municipalities are aware of what’s happening.

The CHGDA has a map on its website listing all 36 partners and the communities where they’re located. This is important, said Filthaut, since some tourists like to engage in “map quests” where they use Google maps to find lodgings and restaurants in communities and then visit those places. 

The organization’s area stretches from Leader in the northwest to Val Marie in the southeast. Although Swift Current is not included as a partner but is on Highway 1, the CHGDA approached art galleries in that community and convinced a few to participate in the festival. 

The festival provides a safe venue to tour, meet and discover art in southwest Saskatchewan in a COVID-19-safe environment, said Filthaut. That area of the province is also vast and diverse and features many kilometres of highway that pass through the sandhills, the grasslands, Cypress Hills and communities with great sights to discover.

The Cypress Hills Grasslands Destination Area spoke with Tourism Saskatchewan about this event, he continued, and while the government-run organization loved the idea, it was too late to support it due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Yet, Tourism Saskatchewan said it might jump on board in 2022.

Even though the CHGDA could not obtain a provincial endorsement, the organization is still excited to host the month-long festival.

“We’re looking forward to it. Everybody I’ve talked with, including from the artistic side, they think it could be here for a long time. It’ll just grow … ,” added Filthaut. “Once you get on the map and do a show, it just builds. But somebody’s got to start it, and this is the start.”  

For more information, visit or the CHGDA Facebook page

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SENIORS' SCENE: Sidewalk Art Spectacular starts July 31 – Peace Arch News – Peace Arch News



The White Rock Community Centre is now open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for customer service.

Remember that the cardio gym in the centre continues to be open through the summer. Come and workout in a cool, air-conditioned, friendly setting. Pre-register to book your one-hour daytime workout Monday to Friday. Call 604-541-2199 for more information.

• You still have time to sign up for a free Zoom Zumba Gold class today, Thursday (July 29), 1-2:30 p.m. Join Zumba instructor Mary Lou Rust for an enjoyable, fun afternoon from the comfort of your own home. Mary Lou will be introducing some new features to her workshop, including how to move your hips for Latin dancing, the basic steps of the Merengue and how to shimmy, Zumba-style. The Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table and the City of White Rock are continuing to host free Zoom Zumba Gold workshops over the next couple of months. This is a perfect, safe and fun exercise class for older adults. Register now for this popular event by calling 604-531-9400, ext.219, or email

• Don’t forget that Mary Lou continues to offer Zumba Gold classes in the parking lot of the Centennial Park ball diamond every Wednesday/Friday morning at 9 a.m. Call 604-541-2199 to register.

• Looking for a fun activity to do outside? Drop down to the outdoor table tennis table at the Kent Street Activity Centre for an active game or two on the centre’s new outdoor table. Don’t forget to bring a paddle and ball!

• This summer, be sure to visit Generations Playground in Centennial Park (14600 North Bluff Rd.). Check out this all-inclusive kaleidoscope of outdoor fun and fitness for people of all ages and abilities. While you are at Centennial Park, take a stroll through Eva Bene Butterfly Garden or challenge yourself with a walk through Duprez ravine. The City of White Rock offers more than 80 acres of parks and trails to enjoy and explore. Visit for more ideas.

• Sidewalking Arts Spectacular will be held on July 31, and Aug. 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Enjoy street art and performances while walking White Rock’s Uptown and Five Corners. This event is presented by White Rock BIA. Check out for more information.

The Kent Street Activity Centre located at 1475 Kent St. is open to persons 55 years of age or better. The Centre is currently open to participants in registered programs only. Customer service is by phone, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 604-541-2199. For the latest COVID-19 City of White Rock updates visit


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Art Beat: Commotion on the Ocean makes waves for a second year – Coast Reporter



Singer Bobby Bruce is taking to the water as he did in 2020 with a set of floating concerts at three locations on Gambier Island, his home base. Bruce, renowned for his Neil Diamond tribute shows as Nearly Neil, will be on the deck of Andy Harper’s big cabin cruiser, Madrone, on Saturday, July 31, singing to audiences ashore and in the small armada of boats that follow. “We’re taking Yacht Rock to another level,” said Bruce. The music starts in West Bay at 5 p.m., followed by Gambier Harbour at 6 p.m., and New Brighton at 7 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the Gambier Community Centre. All audience members are asked to purchase $20 tickets at Youths 15 and under are free.

Concerts on the pier

For some special music by the ocean – as opposed to on it – guitarist Jamie Bowers launches a series of free Sunday evening shows on Aug. 1, at the end of Roberts Creek pier. Bowers, who has toured with the bands Chilliwack and Prism, will play his sunset serenades in surround sound. “From the hauntingly beautiful, to world and pop originals, and covers,” said Bowers. “Magic music in a magic place.” Start time is about two hours before sunset (which is getting earlier each week). Every Sunday with nice weather, until Sept. 12.

Art at The Garden

The Landing Artists group has a show and sale throughout the long weekend at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden on Mason Road in Sechelt. “Lots of new work. Featuring original paintings, prints, photography, sculpted characters, fibre art, jewellery, lamps and more.” 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.

Venue change

Music in The Landing will now be staging both its Saturday afternoon and evening concerts at Winegarden Park for the rest of the summer. (The afternoon sets had originally been scheduled for Pioneer Square, by the George Gibson statue.) On July 31 at 1 p.m., singer-songwriter Jim Foster performs, then at 7 p.m. hear the bohemian funk/jazz fusion of Tongue N Groove.

More live music

At the Clubhouse at the Pender Harbour golf course, the Soleil Duo of Nancy Pincombe and Kenneth Johnson performs Friday, July 30 at 5 p.m. On Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., the Peter Van Trio plays and from 2 to 5 p.m. on holiday Monday, Aug. 2, it’s the Steve Hinton Band.

At the Sechelt Summer Music Series on Saturday, July 31, David Jones plays at noon and the Gruny Four come on at 1 p.m.

At Tapworks in Gibsons on Saturday, July 31, hear The Organics, starting at 2:30 p.m.

On Saturday, July 31 at the Roberts Creek Legion, the Grateful Dead tribute band GDBC will prompt a few flashbacks, starting at 4 p.m., with sets until 8 p.m. $25.

There’s an impressively packed lineup for Aug. 1 at Slow Sundays in the Creek, at the gazebo behind the library in Roberts Creek. At noon, singer-songwriters Charlotte Wrinch and Michael Friedman perform together. At 1 p.m. it’s the “evolved ukulele enthusiasts,” Wildflowers. Roberts Creek writer John Van Arsdell is on at 1:45, then the Lowry Olafson Trio at 2 p.m., followed by show closers, Tube Radio Quintet at 2:45.

Let us know about your arts event at

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