This project was conceived and produced in 2007 while I was teaching in Florence, Italy. As I travelled with students in Tuscany we explored many Early Renaissance Catholic churches. There were so many gray and white “striped” churches and they were so beautiful that for me they came to represent my attachment to Florence. Italian Gothic church architecture is characterized by a pattern of alternate layers of gray and white stone, hence the reason I used gray and white Italian Fabriano paper for the drawing.
During my stay in Florence I attended an exhibit of paintings of the Madonna and Child in the Ospedale degli Innocenti. It turned out that this 15th century building is one of Europe’s first foundling hospitals. It was an orphanage where the unwanted babies of Florence could be left (no questions asked) to be cared for by the Innocenti.
I combined two images to create a composition for the installation: a portion of a Botticelli painting from the exhibit and a photo of a newborn that I had taken. I drew individual sections of the grid using tone or contour line. The style of each section was randomly selected by pulling a number from a hat.
I first installed the drawing in the student lounge in the CAPA International Florence Center, in May and June of 2007. The drawing was subsequently installed in the Bellevue College Gallery in October, 2007.