Author Archives: ckovesi

Return to the Fold – Yasmin Haskell

ACIS is delighted to announce that Professorial Fellow Yasmin Haskell (foundation Cassamarca Chair in Latin Humanism) is returning to the University of Western Australia after two years at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. In Bristol she was Chair of Latin in the Department of Classics and Ancient History and served as Director of the Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition. Some highlights of her time in Europe were commissioning an historically-informed concert performance of the Viennese baroque Jesuit musical drama, Mulier Fortis (Strong Woman) in collaboration with her former UWA PhD student, Dr Makoto Harris Takao (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin); and several invited talks on Latin humanist topics, for instance at the Accademia Vivarium Novum (Frascati), European University Institute, Florence; University of Bologna; Catholic University of Milan; and most recently, to the Virgil Society, London. In November 2018 she gave the 39th annual Erasmus lecture at the Royal Academy of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, on ‘Erasmus and the Health of Scholars: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual’, and an associated masterclass for selected graduate students on ‘Passions for and of Learning in the Early Modern Period’. We wish Prof. Haskell a gentle landing on Australian soil, and look forward to hearing about her further activities in the coming year.

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Of Coffee, Cakes, and an Obligatory Saint

Catherine Kovesi  University of Melbourne

Bassrelief of San Martino on the Oratory of the Scuola of San Martino

Bassrelief of San Martino on the Oratory of the Scuola of San Martino

Throughout most of the westernised world we have just celebrated the festival of Halloween. Each year many protest the intrusion of what they see as an Americanised festival into their indigenous traditions, and it did look a little anachronistic here in Venice to see Halloween paraphernalia in many shop windows. But now, barely a fortnight later, the windows are full of paraphernalia for a different and delightful festival here in the city, one with many similarities to Halloween in the ways in which it is celebrated by the children of Venice, but which is completely enmeshed in Venetian tradition. This is the Feast of San Martino, celebrated on 11 November for at least three centuries now.

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‘Madonna dei Bagni … Prega per noi.’

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

P1020061Wandering along the banchette of one of Venice’s regular mercati antiquari the other day, my eye was caught by a lovely little tazza di caffé. Turning it over, I saw that it was by Ginori, and I felt a little pang that I couldn’t fork out the 40 euros that the stall owner wanted for it.

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Slow Clothes: A Tale of Two Brothers, Two Sisters and a Butcher

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

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Sign on wall outside restaurant in Santorini

I started this year with some spinal surgery. The long recuperation which has followed has brought new resonance for me of the Italian concept of ‘Slow’, a concept first articulated by Carlo Petrini back in 1986 as a protest against fast food.  Everything in the last two months for me has had to proceed at a slow pace, sometimes excruciatingly so.  And yet being forced to take things slowly has proved not to be a bad thing overall. Therapists in rehab, kindly helping me to manage my pain levels, have inducted me into Mindfulness Therapy, which I have found very helpful. On reflection, I think that the principles of ‘mindfulness’ lie at the core of ‘slow’ – taking time to think, to observe, to reflect, and just to concentrate on the joys to be had in the simple.  It has reminded me also of the first time I started to understand the broader principles of ‘slow’, on a stunning April day in Florence in 2011, in the extraordinary textile mecca that is the Casa dei Tessuti.

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