unphotographable

in florence one of the best things was purgatory and hell in cappella struzzi in santa maria nouvella.  it is enormous, it is faded, there are words in a language I don’t know, you can barely see it or take it in in real life let alone take a picture (or find one on the internet) that even suggests what it is like or might have been like back when.  this is akin I think to the territory of fiction in a visual world, the sense of having to be there, the inability to record.  I am thinking sloppily b/c my senses are fried from the daytrip yesterday.  there is also a relationship to another visual/fiction moment from a daytrip a couple of weeks ago to an archeological site.  the rooms in the tomb had been stripped of its frescoes– they had been removed to a museum (or looted or some blurry line between, I forget) but what was so interesting to me was that they’d placed on an easel a number of laminated images that were meant to let you know what had been there.  But the images were not of what had been there, or reconstructions of what what had been there looked like or might have looked like, but this, below–an artist in the group said it look like 1930’s illustration– but seems to show what *figures* were there and what they were *doing* but not have any interest in showing what they might have *looked like* or *been like* like.  I was astonished and also confused by being the only one there who seemed astonished.  I said to my favorite archaeologist:  but it seems like they think style doesn’t matter? and she said that’s right.  I just can’t get over it, it is so bizarre to me. P.S. you can see a little of the original decoration on the ceiling beam at the top of the photo.

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