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"The Big Acapulco Gold Score"

Annabella Cacciatore

The exploration of Central and South America in the 16th Century brought many new discoveries back to the Old World — potatoes from Peru, tomatoes from what is now known as Panama, and the "smoke of the gods" from coastal Mexico.

Cacciatore's career as a painter began just as marijuana was having an impact on Italian social life. She devoted herself to recording early pot parties and the development of various smoking paraphernalia by silver- and goldsmiths.

The models for this painting are believed to be her sister Lucretia and Lucretia's boyfriend Alphonso, caught taking a break from posing for a crucifixion fresco in a nearby church. The two children, also part of the fresco, are Lucretia's illegitimate sons from a dalliance with the Duke of Umbria's Captain of the Horse Marines.

Cacciatore eventually succumbed to the weed herself. Her paintings took longer and longer to complete, until in some cases the paint would partially dry on the brush before it was applied to the canvas, leading to the globuloso or "lumpy" painting technique that enjoyed a brief popularity until artists and their patrons discovered that paint no longer stuck to canvas in that condition. The term globuloso has also been applied to Cacciatore's work because of the presence of the stems and seeds which were apparently mixed into the paint, either deliberately or inadvertently.

The artist died when one of her paintings caught fire as she was working on it. Rather than fleeing the studio she took a couple of deep tokes and watched as the flames consumed the painting and herself. Her maidservant reported her last words to be "alla moda" which roughly translates as "groovy" in the Bolognese dialect.


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