Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Bernard Berenson "The Passionate Sightseer"
Found in a second hand bookstore, "The Passionate Sightseer" written by Bernard Berenson and published in 1960. He was an american jewish connoisseur of art and renaissance period.
In his published diaries from 1947 - 56, he recounts on a trip to Libya, Tripoli, in May 1955. He shows photos of the Theatre at Sabratha with its great mosaic floor, he wrote about Leptis Magna and his awe at the roman ruins.
He says: "Leptis is, all considered, one of the most impressive fields of ruins on the shores of the Mediterranean and can stand the comparison even with Palmyra, the desert port, and with Baalbeck, its gigantic columns and its over-blown floreated decoration."
On the conservation in Libya, he says :" One cannot help wondering what will happen once the Allied control comes to an end. Will the Libyans want to carry on and preserve what may seem to them an intrusion from a hostile world? (...) But I hear too little of what goes on politically in this haven of peace and tranquility and cannot presume to form any judgement."
But our modern times art experts in the Arab World have enough tools to continue exploration and preservation with all western standards. It just needs the will to cherish History and stones