Street Sign Language Lesson 3 < Street Sign Language Lesson 4 > Street Sign Language Lesson 5
We started classes this week at the University of Bergamo CIS – Italian for Foreigners and were immediately humbled by how good the other students are. We are going to have buckle down and get serious! With that in the back of our minds, we wandered down to Piazza La Carrara looking to kill a few hours before our next class. We popped back into the Accademia La Carrara and used the opportunity to work on our language skills reading the information for different works of art. (You might ask: how economical is it to go into a museum to practice reading? We have the Abbonamento Musei Lombardia Milano, which provides for free entry into most museums in Lombardy, 14 in Bergamo and the surrounding province, including La Carrara.) So this installment of street sign language lessons takes place inside La Carrara and concerns five paintings.
Le ultime ore di Gaetano Donizetti – “The last hours of Gaetano Donizetti”
Donizetti sits in the chair descending into madness caused by syphilis.The information for this odd painting by Ponziano Loverini  translates the title as “The last moments of Gaetano Donizetti’s life” as if to imply he wasn't in this state for very long. The terms of interest in this sad scene are abbandonarsi (“collapsed”), sguardo (“gaze”), follia (“madness”), and agonia (“agony). Not a pretty ending.
Ritratto dell contessa Anastasia Spini – “Portrait of Countess Anastasia Spini” (more info)
This portrait by Piccio (Giovanni Carnovali) [circa 1840] shows the countess sitting on a poltroncina (“armchair”) and holding tobacco da fiuto (“snuff”). She also sports a sguardo (gaze), but perhaps a little different from Donizetti’s.
Strumenti musicali – “Musical instruments” (more info)
It would be fun to write descriptions for works of art. Take this painting by Evaristo Baschenis [1660 – 1670] where the following words are used: lo scorrere (“passage” as in time), ineluttabile (“inescapable”), and scandito (time is "marked by” the settling of dust on the instruments).
Ritratto di giovane – “Potrait of a young man” (more info)
The description of Lorenzo Lotto’s [circa 1500] portrait of a young man uses volto (“face”) and the fun phrase riccioli color rame (“coppery-colored curls”). Why not colore rame? Colore is masculine and with masculine nouns and infinitives you can drop the final e. Note that giovane refers to a young man. To refer to a young woman, it would be giovane donna.
David con la testa di Golia – “David with Goliath’s head” (more info)
The description of this painting by Antonio Balestra [circa 1718 – 1720] features the interesting words accavallate (“crossed” legs of David), insanguinato (“bloody”), fanciulle (“young girls”), and our old friend sguardo but this time qualified by languido (“languid”).