A ballerina ra muntagna
Description by the artist
One day, from my terrace, I saw Etna puffing and throwing flames and ash, as it usually does. And I saw the silhouette of a dancer on her toes come to life in the sky above “a muntagna”, as we call the volcano. Here it is my Ballerina ra muntagna (Sicilian for The dancer of the she-mountain). Etna, a giant above our heads, always gives these visions to us who live with it.
Details and dimensions
The artwork in the Sicilian culture
Etna, the highest volcano in Europe (3300 m asl), dominates the eastern part of Sicily but is so huge that you can see up to hundreds of kilometers away. Men of all ages have climbed to the top starting with the philosopher Empedocle from Agrigento (V B.C.) who, according to legend, ended his life by throwing himself into it. The toponym (Aitna) seems to derive from some word whose etymology, leads back to the meaning “to burn”, ” burn down”. For the Arabs of Sicily (IX-XI century) it was a mountain twice as high and they called it Mons (mount) Gebel (mountain), twice mountain; and until the recent past (but also today) the Sicilians called it Mongibello. But its Sicilian name par excellence is: “a muntagna“. It has given work to the nivalori (who collected the snow and kept it in the caves of the volcano and then they sold it in the villages), to the coalmen, the Ginestra collectors (excellent for the bakers). In this work of art, its ash, which during the frequent eruptions falls as rain on the nearby towns (and people must equip themselves with umbrellas), was eternally “trapped” in a canvas.
(photo): Eruption of Etna 1669, Painting by Giacinto Platania (who witnessed the event), Catania Cathedral
Drawing with lava ash
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