All Art is Quite Useless?

Today is a dull day, weather-wise of course. There is rarely a truly dull day here in terms of thoughts, reflections, activities and projects. But the tentacles of winter are approaching; Christmas is still a little way off and November is filled with sad times of remembrance. The days are becoming ever shorter, the nights colder and summer outdoor joys ever more distant.The harvest is reaped and autumn leaves are rapidly falling.

Why not (that is, if you are living in Bagni di Lucca area) consider that something which you have been pondering about for too long but never done before? The first paragraph of a novel that could make your soul fly into unknown mind-regions, the riff that will turn into music that for you has never been so live, the beginning of a pencil line that may turn into a painting replete with colour and inner life? As Churchill said: “Happy are the painters for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day.”

There are so many alternative to switching on the telly, draining that last drop from the gin bottle or going to sleep early with the cat.

Yesterday evening at Borgo a Mozzano library a veritable plethora of courses were offered for all ages, for all tastes and in all media.

I’m already part of the amateur dramatics group which will put on a show to remember (for the right reasons I’m sure) on December 21st this year at Bagni di Lucca’s Teatro Accademico.


(Last night, from left to right Simonetta Cassai artist, Michela Innocenti, actor and dramatist and on the right Patrizio Andreucetti, Borgo a Mozzano Mayor)

Being the son of a (sadly deceased) very artistically inclined father and a wife whose ancestor could clearly include that genius of decorative art (and painter of both the Queen’s Coronation coach and the Lord Mayor’s one too), Giovanni Battista Cipriani, (about whom I’ll give a talk next Easter) I’m thinking seriously of dabbling in painting.

My (and your) teacher could be the brilliant, highly talented Simonetta Cassai.

Her paintings show an eclectic approach to technique.

From mediaeval Gothicising with gold leaf and a touch of the Senese school


To full-blooded ‘plein air’

To her own brand of the Italian metaphysical school.

Underlying this virtuosity of techniques – learnt also because Simonetta is a dazzling restorer of ancient works of art in the area – is a clear statement of her own style and genius.

There’s no pandering to conceptual or post-conceptualism here, no flattery to fashionable cliques. Instead, there’s sincerity, individuality and a clear mastery of her ‘concetto’.  Behind her painting I find a mixture of wistfulness and playfulness, an amalgam of nostalgia and hope and, above all, a true dedication to the highest ideals of art, especially Italian art.

As the children who took part in yesterday’s delightful and recited their definition of art and for the mellifluous amalgam of the flute and harp players, the finest art expresses the highest emotion into mute speech.

I trust Simonetta’s exhibition will continue for a few more days and also that people will join her art course which begins next Wednesday. More details are at

See you there?





2 thoughts on “All Art is Quite Useless?

  1. Dear Francis,
    I’m jealous of people who dabble in art and enjoy, after four years at art school you leave to begin the ‘Agony and the Ecstasy’ of a futile career.

    Ex Art Student – by Roger McGough

    Neat-haired and
    low heeled
    you live without passion

    hold down
    a dull job
    in the world of low fashion

    once prickly
    is limpid is static

    your dreams
    lie now in the attic

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