Journey: Siena Duomo

November 28 th 2008

Oil on canvas
70" x 52"

These cavernous structures were built for crowds of people and throngs of religious activity, but now hold only shadows of those presences. In the three years I spent living and working in Italy, I encountered these medieval places as places of mystery. Through painting them they have also become metaphors for our interior lives and the experience of painting and prayer: discoveries arrived at through waiting shadows and moments of light.

I sense that the architects of these medieval churches built these spaces to be visible, tangible expressions of divine presence. They seem to be true dwelling places between earth and sky, intended to foster an encounter between heaven and earth. I experience the painting process as a means of grappling with the boundary between celestial and terrestrial, visible and invisible, past and present, spiritual and physical.

Topics: Arts

Michelle Arnold Paine received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting at University of New Hampshire and a B.A. from Gordon College in Art and English. Michelle's paintings, drawings, and prints are heavily influenced by the several years she spent living and working in Orvieto, Italy. She also studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and for several summers with the New York Studio School. Michelle currently resides in Massachusetts.