14th century hill top town in Campania

# ancientstructures – spiritual presence

The roots of this ancient town reach down into the Palaeolithic age and its sleepy atmosphere helps time stand still. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the sea in the Cilento region of southern Italy, the small town is centred around the Angel’s Castle, built in the 12th century by the abbot Saint Costabile Gentilcore, who gave the place its name – from the latin ’Castrum abbatis’, ‘the castle of the abbot’. An ancient bell still tolls on the quarter hour, which, together with the chirping of birds, provides the only disturbance to the peace in this enchanting place.

Several strands come together in Castellabate; the geometry of its alleys, archways, openings and steps lead on to abstract manifestations in other works. Stairs and steps are always an enticing subject for me, not knowing who or what might be above or below, and in the case of Castellabate they suggest the possibility of an encounter with a medieval poet, a toga-clad Roman, or a Neolithic hunter returning home. The spiritual presence of countless generations stretching back to the dawn of civilisation is a rich ingredient in this mythological mix, which forms the inspiration behind my work here.

hillside town has a maze of alleyways
This lovely hillside town has a maze of alleyways that invite explorers [Cat: 0075, Castellabate Alley # 2, 12 x 16” / 30 x 40 cm, Watercolour on board, 2000]

Strength and beauty

#ancientstructures – spiritual presence 02

This vaulted ceilings in the Chapter House is a testament to the skill and ingenuity of the stone masons, unhindered by what we would consider to be crude tools today. They combine beauty and strength, quite deliberately, to produce these magnificent forms that have stood firm for over a thousand years.

Chapter House vaulting [Cat: (23) ANCIENT STRUCTURES 01]

Magnificent Forms

#ancientstructures – spiritual presence 01

This vaulted ceilings in the Nave is a testament to the skill and ingenuity of the stone masons, unhindered by what we would consider to be crude tools today. They combine beauty and strength, quite deliberately, to produce these magnificent forms that have stood firm for over a thousand years.

Vaulted ceiling [Cat: (23) ANCIENT STRUCTURES 00]