Laura Brocchi

THE "drappellone" OF JULY 2017

For the July 2017 Palio I created a work with clear and recognizable content, dividing the space into a few easily readable pictorial elements. The figure of Our Lady of Provenzano stands at the top and for Her I imagined a “real” face, of an authentic woman who in her humanity looks at us all. The iconography, however, refers to the ancient statue of Virgin Mary in Provenzano adorned by the characteristic silver lining. For this reason I applied the particular silver-plated copper warbler decorated with a cabochon crystal to recall, this time, the Sienese Gothic Madonna’s representations.

The main idea of the drappellone composition is linked to the veil of the Virgin, which goes down for the entire length of the banner, becoming a soft curtain, clearly referring to the night blue velvet curtain of the Teatro dei Rozzi, to which the drappellone is dedicated.

From this curtain the main elements of the composition appear: the proscenium of the same Theatre, with its stuccoes, the clock marking 7:30 pm, the hour of the race, as well as the great horse, actually the main protagonist of our Celebration.

The white barbero (name of the horses that take part into the race) has as background the planks of the stage’s floor, represented as if they were the segments of Piazza del Campo: place of representations and battles, but also a place of jubilation for the winning Contrada. And this jubilation is enclosed – a minute and meticulous detail in a painting with large figures – in the eye of the horse, which emits rays like a radiant sun.

I deliberately applied on the painted part the technique that I usually use for the silk of the flags, especially to avoid damages in the moments of jubilation and in the subsequent ones, when the banner is touched by hundreds of hands. I intentionally left the silk colourless inside the proscenium both to give the idea of the bursting light from the bottom, and not to hide completely and to enhance this precious and beautiful material. My palio, however, had to present also elements that led back to the technique that, in addition to painting, practical since always, that is the overhang of metals, which I learned in my family’s workshop and made me known to most for the 5 masgalani made so far.

The part of the metal applications was obviously the most technically complex and long in term of time. Therefore, the great symbol of the Academy of the Rozzi, the coats of arms of the Contrade, of the Terzi, and the Mayor are made of embossed copper and silver.

Drawing the emblems that represent the Contrade I wanted to draw inspiration from the official iconography, with my own personal reinterpretation: combining each of them with a graphic reference easily recognizable in flags or handkerchiefs.

Take a look to the beautiful video made by Videodocumentazioni (Silvia Folchi).