|Piazza della Signoria|
|Florence selfie with Seester-Rose|
So anyway, Florence. We spent 2 days in Florence, the first day doing the ubiquitous, guided walking tour of the city, and doing some touring all together. It was the second day that I was so excited for, because instead of a trip to Pisa (no thanks), we had tickets to the 2 art galleries! I was fairly twitching with excitement. This was what I had been waiting for.
|At the end of the Uffizi|
|The Uffizi gallery|
|Leonardo da Vinci|
When I was in college- a few years ago- hehe- I usually had art history classes at some ungodly time of the day- like 8 or 9 am. We had slides for our art history classes, which of course means the lights were off. Now if one is 18 or 19 years old, and one is sitting in the dark after a hard night
partying studying, let me tell you, it is hard to stay awake. Even with the most interesting information it was tough, in spite of having 2 Tabs lined up in front of me.... Tab-omg, so disgusting, but you do what you have to do. I especially remember having a hard time with Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, as the slides were ALL from the photographic collection of the 2 professors, and frankly we memorized them by the people or the cars or some oddity of the picture, instead of figuring out what we were looking at. Sigh. I really liked the Greek art and architecture especially, Roman art was presented as somewhat inferior to Greek, since the Greeks did it first and (according to the profs) best. This is neither here nor there, but will figure into the art in Rome in a few days....
|Sculpture in the Piazza della Signoria|
|Excavated layers of brick from the side of building- showing many time periods|
I, however, LOVED Renaissance art- and had to "suffer through" some of that middle ages 1200s stuff and then, later in the semester, god help me, Rococo. Oh, we learned a lot of snobbery towards art in those classes. Lol. Somewhere, I will need to put in my observations about driving into our county and encountering the Outsider Art of Fred Smith.
|Armed guards were at every important landmark and building|
SO, as I said, after learning about the flat (and holy cow gorgeous) diptychs and triptychs of the early 1200's, and being more than a little bored, we finally arrived at the Renaissance. Of course in retrospect and having had a lot of years of reading about art and seeing a lot of galleries (though that has mostly happened only in the last 6 or 7 years) I understand more holistically how the different time periods of art work together. Intellectually, it was easy to repeat the spiel that is given to you in classes, but to comprehend truly how it all worked together was not quite there. Only during this trip did the final piece of understanding finally fall into place. When people say that pictures do not do justice, they are right. But you can't always get to the places that have the art you want to see, so as always, we do the best we can with the tools that we have. Being in Italy, in Florence, in Rome was a pinnacle experience for me- indeed a trip of a lifetime. I learned a lot being there, but also refreshed my memory of the history in my pretrip research, found in my countdown posts! :) You should see the stacks of Art history books on my piano bench.
|See the beginnings of indicated space and perspective|
|The Cathedral took about 200 years to finish from the late 1200's, finish in late 1400's- the dome was a triumph by Brunelleschi - the facade was applied in the Neo-gothic style and was finished in the 19th century.|
|Looking up in the Duomo|
|Look at the remarkable carving on this trim|
|Part of a Byzantine altar|
|Interior of the Cathedral|
I realized, while strolling through the galleries at the Uffizi, how gorgeous this early work is and how I had underrated the Byzantine-influenced art. The pieces by Cimabue of the mid 1200's and Giotto of the 1300's clearly show the progression made by artists of that time- towards humanist/ancient realistic work that was slowly leaving the religion based subjects behind. While the beautiful, golden Cimabues are a feast for the eye, you can see (and I pointed out to everyone who would listen) the beginnings of 3 dimensional space and formal perspective in the work by Giotto and his contemporaries. I am amazed that I am having discourse about the characteristics of Byzantine and Midlevel art as a result of actually visiting Florence. It is stunning to me. And as I continued through the museum and found the Botticelli gallery and then the later High Renaissance and Mannerism, I was overcome with an emotion I can't even describe.
|Exterior of the Uffizi|
It was hot and humid and I was constantly jostling with my camera and backpack, and fiddling around to make sure my passport and phone were still on my person. I had seen the outside of the Uffizi the day before and had reveled in the awesome sculptures of the artists whose work is in the gallery, so I was primed with excitement. There was just so much to see, and really, though I loved the sculptures and busts, but I just wanted to see the paintings. Upon entering the galleries with the Cimabues, I was enthralled. I lost the sensation of being hot, of my camera being on my shoulder, of everything except for the pressure of knowing I had to see certain things before a certain time. Such was the negative of this kind of tour- time constraints. Anyway, without knowing what I was doing, I snapped some fast pictures of some of the paintings, but I really was too distracted with looking to take photos. And most of the photos I took were fast and full of people. So, my most vivid memories and meaningful experiences are indeed not caught on camera. I regret, in a way not having photos that are 1st rate of those moments, but not really. My full attention had to be given to the visual experience and I could not take the time for a long exposure that would have been necessary for a good picture in the low light. In other words, a bunch of my pictures suck!!
|There are many pictures better than this in the world|
|You can see the doors to the left on the Baptistry.|
|Looking over Florence-|
|Lots of people and a guy with a gun! After you get used to it, you really do feel pretty safe!|
Florence was beautiful, Florence was exciting and Florence was not a super big city. It made it easy to navigate, once you got your bearings, and there were some hidden jewels that were there for you to discover. I feel that I have made this post long enough, and frankly there is one guy- I'm talking to you, David- who needs a post of his own. I felt comfortable there, and I was in heaven.
|Arno river with the Vecchio Bridge- All those little buildings are shops! You hardly know you are on a bridge|
|David on the outlook on the hill above Firenze|