Saturday, January 23, 2010
This one's for all you Art History buffs out there.
Ah, Florence: birthplace of the modern renaissance, old stomping grounds of Michelangelo and da Vinci, and home to many of original art pieces that are well over 500 years old. What trip to Florence would be complete without a tour of the Galleria dell’Academia or the Uffizi? So that is exactly what we did.
Yesterday, the art history professor of Richmond (the school I am attending while in Florence) took us to La Galleria dell’Academia. Our professor, Franz, is actually from Holland so he is trilingual in Dutch, Italian, and English. You might think that having English as Franz’s third language would be a problem when guiding us through the museums. Quite the contrary actually, it did not effect his ability whatsoever to tell us absolutely EVERYTHING there is to know about all of these pieces. In fact, his passion for art, while both intriguing and inspiring, led him to talk about each individual statue, sculpture, and painting for at least 20 minutes. Multiply that by the seemingly 100s of pieces we saw over the next 24 hours and you’ve got one hell of an informative tour on your hand. He purposely saved the climax of our tour for the end so we wouldn’t run off like the other students he has hosted (presumably after they began zoning out of his overly enlightening tour). Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful to have such a knowledgeable professor to guide us through the museums. I just think we all would have been just as appreciative of learning around a third of the information that we did.
After about two hours, we were finally led into a long hallway where at the end, basking in the glow of the sunlight from the transparent dome overhead, was The David. I felt like Hercules when he goes to see the statue of his father, Zeus, for the first time in the Disney classic: awestruck. It was absolutely breathtaking. For those of you haven’t brushed up on your art history in awhile, The David is Michelangelo’s 99.9% anatomically exact replica of an average (but rather muscular) 25 year old man. It represent David from the Old Testament’s story of David and Goliath, right before he is about to slay the giant. This marble statue was almost 16 feet tall and still blindingly white even after celebrating its 500 year birthday back in 2003. Everything from the tendons in his hands to the curls on his head was carved into exquisite detail. Franz told us that Michelangelo studied literally hundreds of cadavers over the course of three years while working on this sculpture to make sure that every muscle, tendon, and vein, was anatomically correct in how it was carved into this particular stance. See the picture above for a view of his masterpiece yourself.
Today we toured the Uffizi. This tour was even longer and more informative than the Galleria dell’Academia because it covered over 500 years of Italian artwork. Franz taught us how to differentiate between each period of art from the Medieval all the way to modern Renaissance. I’ll spare you the details now, but if anyone comes to visit me in Florence (wink wink) I’ll show you how to as well. Oh, and by the way, this museum had a beautiful underground maze leading to the most amazing marble bathrooms I have ever seen. Just a little tid bit of background on what to expect in my upcoming album since this was the only place in the museum they allowed me to take pictures. Amattina I’m off to Sienna and San Gimignano bright and early “fare una gita piccolo” (to take short day/field trip, one of our vocab words of the day) so non usciamo a disquoteca a notte. Buona serata!