Monday, January 21, 2019

Dinner with an Artist: Elsa Bagarolo

Annamaria on Monday

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of an invitation to dinner at the home of Elsa Bagarolo.  Elsa has been a friend for decades.  She knew me before the novelist in me came out.  I knew her before she found the consummate expression of her artistic soul, which had always been obvious in the way she looked at and arranged her world.  I have her permission to bring you inside her home.

The place itself is a work of her art.  Everywhere one looks there are beautiful and interesting things. 

At the entrance of the apartment

In the powder room

The floor

The ceiling
*(Please keep in mind that No-photographer-I took these photos with my phone, in the evening, with available light.  In no way do they do justice to the what I saw.)

Elsa found a "siamese twin" oyster shell on the beach
near her place in Sardinia.  I might have noticed it if I saw
it.  She took it home and did this with it!.  

The dinner table was also a work of art.

Detail of the dinner table: with Elsa's delightful flowers
made of tiny beads.

And then there was the dinner.  It began with fresh pasta alla cinghiale--wild boar.  I am afraid  that I cannot show you a picture of it.  As I served some into my pasta bowl, the delicious aroma overwhelmed me.  The next thing I knew I was reaching for my phone to take a picture of an empty plate.

The salad though was almost too pretty to eat.

One cranks this gizmo, drawing the knife blade over the
soft, delicious cheese.  It produces blossoms to be served
over the lettuce, dressed with wonderful olive oil and honey.

The dessert was an Italian version of bread pudding.  Elsa had taken a photo of it baking in the oven and was surprised to see the ghost of a cat in the image!

All of this with conversation about art, while surrounded by Elsa's...well tapestries is the best word I can come up with.  Elsa's artwork is entirely sui generis: a way of making beautiful images that she herself invented.

She almost always bases her art on the works of other artists, many of them famous images, which she reproduces and enhances.  She works with a needle and thread.

The backs of the images are near perfect mirrors of the fronts.

Here are the ones I photographed that evening. Some of them are as much as four feet on a side.  Others as little as ten inches on a side:

After Klimt: and about the same size as his painting

Detail of the above to show you the stitches.

Details of the Sistine Chapel and of a Chagall,
just hanging out together on shelves!

This large work is based on Bernini's Saint Theresa in Ecstasy

Detail of the above: an expression of ecstasy captured
with a needle and thread!  My response:
"E' una meraviglia!"

A smaller work, after Van Gogh.  Experts verify the authenticity of
Vincent's work by his brushwork.  Elsa invented a tapestry stitch
that captures the energy of a Van Gogh original.

A shelf in a hallway displays some of her international trophies in recognition of her genius.  Here are just two of many:

Along the way, I saw this image of Elsa as a young woman.


I can imagine a woman who looked like the young Elsa might think gorgeous was all she needed to be.  But she was and she is much more than glamour puss. She was possessed of an artist's soul.

She remains beautiful.  And goes on creating more beauty.

What a privilege to have such a friend!


  1. Thanks for sharing so many lovely things (and people and events and...) in this post, AmA. Stupefacente!

  2. What an amazing, creative artist! I guess you types hang out together.

    1. That’s what I’m doing here, Bro. Hanging out with gifted friends. Or gifted fiends, Something like that.

  3. I'm in awe at Elsa's artistry. You are truly blessed.

    1. True, Jerry. I am. Elsa is modest about her gifts, which makes me all the more eager to sing her praises.

  4. Yes, I am also in awe of Elsa's artistic skills. You are quite fortunate to know her and be invited into her lovely house and to see her art. Someone we'd all be lucky to know.