Salon 2016 in St. Petersburg, Russia

Wild honey smells of freedom
The dust - of sunlight 
The mouth of a young girl, 
like a violet
But gold - smells of nothing.
―Anna Akhmatova

But oh the seduction, the vision, the allure of gold on the domes, the icons and thrones and ornaments of Russia!

Shining across the roofs of St. Petersburg, gleaming over the brow of the embankment of Petergoff, glowing above the entrance of Catherine’s Palace and glimmering in the far domes of the western islands edging the Bay of Finland.

Flashing on the wings of lions, shimmering in Petergoff’s fountains, glittering in the great enfilade of Catherine’s Palace, and shining for God on the altars and saints.

There is a wildness, a gorgeous excess of ornament that catches at the heart and eyes. Several artists at the Salon 2016 picked up on this, either with actual gold leaf or with panels of painted gold leaf effects.

Lynne Rutter’s elegant figure painted on a gold leaf ground.

Noel Donnellan’s evocative Dublin surrounded by painted gold ornament

Stefano Lucca’s Renaissance woman with her cloth of gold dress

And Sara Pringle’s gorgeous Persian gold leaf panel

And, of course, the friendships that were made and renewed. Gold in itself.

…Our two souls therefore, 
which are one,  
Though I must go, endure not yet  
A breach, but an expansion,  
Like GOLD to aery thinness beat…
—from A Valediction Forbidding Mourning 
by John Donne

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