La Gazzetta's first featured Person of the Month is none other than our contributing writer, Stephen N. Fliegel! Hailing from Cleveland Heights, OH, Stephen is the Curator of Medieval Art for the Cleveland Museum of Art. It's only fitting that he has been chosen as September's Person of the Month for our issue showcasing Italian art and artists. Read on to learn a little more about Stephen.
What is your family's Italian history?
Well, I am not of Italian ancestry myself. I come, originally, from Sheffield in the north of England. However, my wife, Janice, is Italian American. Her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Sicily. She is part of the Calabrese-Cannato family. We met in Cleveland, and I feel a special bond of kinship to Italian Americans through her family. I learned much about Italian food, culture and traditions through my wife and her mother, Johanna, who told me that as a child she danced the Tarantella in the museum's garden court, where I now work.
Tell us about your family:
My son and daughter-in-law are both Cleveland architects. They have given us three lovely grandchildren. The two older ones love soccer.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Yorkshire in the north of England.
How long have you worked in the art world?
I have been privileged to work for the Cleveland Museum of Art for the past 33 years. I am the Curator of Medieval Art and never grow tired of my job.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy cooking and gardening. Both are creative activities like painting or writing. Cooking relaxes me, and I enjoy recreating for my wife dishes I enjoyed while traveling in Europe.
Thank you for being our contributing writer for the Art section of LG!
As an art historian and museum curator, I enjoy writing about Italian works of art in the museum's collections, mainly those dating to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It gives me pleasure to connect Italian Americans to their cultural heritage. I also enjoy linking works of art to particular places and moments in Italy's history through my articles.
What has been your favorite article you contributed to LG thus far?
Well, there have been several. One I especially enjoyed was "Mailolica... the Ceramics of Italy" published in the May 2015 edition. My wife enjoys collecting Italian maiolica, and we admire them when traveling.
What is your favorite meal?
I am fond of osso buco and cioppino. I enjoy any well-made risotto. The lobster risotto at Luca's Restaurant in Cleveland is amazing.
Have you ever visited or lived in Italy?
Yes, I have traveled in Italy extensively over the years, mainly through my work for the museum. I have visited most major cities and many small towns. There are still a few regions that I would like to know better, such as Calabria.
What is your drink of choice?
I love a good cappuccino in the morning. By late afternoon I am ready for a few espressos. I also enjoy good wine and the occasional grappa.
What is the last movie you saw?
I tend to gravitate to classic films such as "Casablanca" and "The Maltese Falcon." The last film I saw was Alfred Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain." I am afraid that I do not stay current with cinema.
What is the last book you read?
I generally read non-fiction, primarily historical or art historical subjects. I recently finished "The Knights of the Crown" by Jonathan Boulton.
If you could live or visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to live, at least for a while, in the small hillside town of Montone in Umbria, just north of Perugia. This is one of the most picturesque towns I have ever visited in Italy. From the town itself there is a lovely view of the Tiber valley below. The town is full of cats and geraniums, which would please my wife. The people are charming, and Montone produces excellent local wines and food products. The town has retained its wonderful medieval ambience.
What is your favorite thing about LG?
For me, I enjoy the wide range of subjects covered by La Gazzetta, from food to culture. I especially enjoy the articles about local Italian Americans and their many contributions to life in northeast Ohio. It is a joy to read, even for someone such as me, who is not Italian American.
What are some additional things our readers should know about you?
I like jazz and vintage rock music. I have three cats. I met Jim Morrison and the Doors on a flight to London in 1968.
And, there you have it! Stephen Fliegel, La Gazzetta's September Person of the Month. Check out his article titled "Collecting in Renaissance Italy" in this issue. And, take a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art to view all of the pieces Stephen so graciously writes about!