Thursday, April 24, 2014

Il Porcellino in New York City

I saw the Florentine bronze "Porcellino" in its home in Italy quite a number of years before it appeared, in 1972, in my neighborhood Sutton Place Park. This one doesn't have its nose rubbed to a coppery shine like its ancestor's, although I did see someone doing a rub—considered good luck—while I was sitting on a nearby bench on a recent sunny Saturday afternoon. Porcellino means "piglet" in italiano, but this is more a wild boar than a cuddly Babe-type piglet! The surrounding flora and fauna, consisting of vines, reptiles, and insects, are worth a close perusal. The whole work is a bit menacing, though lovable for its associations. A civic-minded philanthropist with a whimsical turn of mind donated this as well as a Peter Pan statue in Carl Schurz park. 

It was definitely a cross-cultural afternoon, as I was listening to Strauss's Arabella  from the Metropolitan Opera on my iPhone, and following the libretto. I guess I really should have been listening to that valentine to the city of Florence, Gianni Schicchi.