Sunday Night Read: BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS – Art and Obsession in Tuscany.

Better read this New Yorker piece about the artist, sculptor and mind-warper Niki de Saint Phalle and her wild and exuberant garden and life in Tuscany after the Game of Thrones season premiere, tonight; your brain will be already deep enough in PhantasyLand to comprehend and appreciate.

niki saint phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle – image courtesy of The New Yorker.

Here’s the opening:

In the Italian village of Capalbio, in the late nineteen-seventies, two peculiar things happened: the mail started arriving late, and people began whispering about the “monsters” rising up in the hills nearby. At first, the monsters looked like massive, misshapen iron cages emerging from the Tuscan countryside. Then they went white. Plaster was spread over the metal, and the monsters became looming, creamy ghosts. Finally, they started turning colors: blue, orange, shocking pink.

Although no one suspected it, there was a connection between these two occurrences. The postman, Ugo Celletti, had been helping to create the monsters—tremendous sculptures growing on the grounds of a local estate. He’d discovered a passion for mosaic work, and as he applied slivers of mirrored glass to the monsters he sometimes forgot about his postal route. Like many other people in the area, Celletti had his life altered by the mother of the monsters, who came to Italy to build a sculpture garden that she had envisioned in a dream, decades earlier, when she was locked in an asylum: the artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

niki garden 1

Image courtesy of The New Yorker.



Cover image courtesy © Roland Fischer, Zürich (Switzerland) – Mail notification to: roland_zh(at)hispeed(dot)ch / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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