It’s one of those wonderful hidden places that are just sitting in Barga waiting to be discovered – the altana, the covered roof terrace on the top floor of Casa Cordati in Barga Vecchia. From there you can admire not only the panoramic vista of the valley and a picturesque view of the Duomo framed inside a window, but also the interior of the roof-terrace that Bruno Cordati painted in the Sixties, in the style characteristic of the last period of his long artistic career.
And it is inside this altana that this afternoon a group of painters were busily working under the tutelage of Christopher Bell the Course Director / Fine Art Tutor for Art Toscana who has been running very successful art courses over the last six or seven years.
Click on the audioboo at the end of this article for a short interview (in English) with Chris as he explains some of his philosophy behind making art in general, some of the techniques used on his course and just how pleasurable making art in Barga can be. He describes it as bordering on the spiritual experience.
Set amid 23 acres of the Garfagnana Nature Reserve, a mile and a half from the mediaeval town of Barga, 20 miles from Lucca and 56 miles from Florence, our spacious Tuscan farmhouse has a restored barn, extensive studio facilities and a swimming pool. It is an ideal retreat for exploring creativity.
With fantastic views of the snow-capped Apuan Alps, the house and grounds are situated in one of Italy’s richest botanic regions. Our house ‘Val di Pozza’ (Valley of the Well) is comfortably furnished and, whilst offering total seclusion, is only a short distance from Barga.
We have designed exciting art courses for both beginners and the more experienced. Attention will be given to individual needs within maximum groups of ten. – The Art Toscana site can be seen here
Christopher Bell Course Director / Fine Art Tutor
MA Slade University College London, BA Chelsea College of Art, Certificate in Education, Certificate in Counselling, Painting Scholarship to Yale University.
I am both a practising artist and a teacher. My background is in education, teaching art to young students, teachers and adults. I am an Advanced Skills Teacher and led the Development of Thinking and Learning Skills in East Sussex schools. My work as a painter, is mostly two dimensional, incorporating a range of surfaces and media. Layering techniques together with historcal references also play a major role in the creation of these images. I have exhibited in the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, in the USA and Germany. My work is also in private collections, and I undertake commissions. I also cook the pizzas!