Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
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P o r t r a i t s
Alessandra Garboli
The day I met Alessandra "Pupa" Garboli at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome in late
October 2008, she was promenading there with her friend and confidante, Ines. I, on
the other hand, was racing against the dying afternoon sun to finish the watercolor
of the piazza displayed below.

Said and done. Some weeks after this fateful meeting, I was having coffee with
these two ladies at their house near the piazza, and not only celebrating the sale of
my pre-Napoleonic view of Maria del Popolo, but forming a wonderful friendship
with the two of them.
By the way, the fact that Alessandra is holding a book in her portrait is indicative
of this lady's wide literary background. At age 80 +, she readily quotes verse
passages from Dante's
Divine Comedy or Torquato Tasso's love poetry, and she
explained that she has gradually inducted Ines into the world of letters. "Ines is
very good with plants, but she does not usually talk to people," Mrs. Garboli
intimated to me that same afternoon in Piazza del Popolo. "Why, Ines is midway
through the Inferno, aren't you, Ines?" she went on, "and she has read Stendhal's
Life of Napoleon!" To which, her noble companion nodded.

One more detail about the painting. There is a small key in Mrs. Garboli's hand.
"This book is my diary, Jose." She told me when we started the painting. "And the
key means that only I hold the passage and entry into my life story."
To me, of course, since Alessandra's friendship eventually made possible my first
show of artwork in Italy in December 2008 --
CLICK here for details -- her silver
key has additional meanings. Alessandra Garboli holds in many ways the keys to
what has been my own story as an artist here in Rome.

While the pen&ink portrait above of La Ines shows the quiet, almost introspective
side of Mrs. Garboli's companion,  below is a more humorous interpretation of
these two ladies --- also in pen & ink -- as I have seen them during their frequent
detectivesque promenades of Rome. When I drew this picture, I couldn't resist
showing one of Ines's frequent moments of exasperation when her lady says or
demands from Ines something outlandish. As Ines herself would say, her hands
turned up and her head looking to the Italian heavens:  "Ay, signora!"
La signora Garboli politely asked me
if she could view my watercolor and
proceeded to tell me all about herself
and her friend -- and to praise the
fact that I had been somehow able to
capture the square shape that this
charming piazza had before it was
redesigned by Giuseppe Valadier --  
(1762-1839).  "The
stronzo (creep)
totally ruined this piazza, turning it
into an ellipse!" she cried.

"But, this is wonderful, signore!" this lady raved on. "In fact, would you kindly
call me at the number on this carte de visite when you have finished the work?"
And, handing me her personal business card,  she added, "I think I would like to
buy your watercolor!"
La Ines