Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Art Above All
Hundreds of books have been written about the art of Florence, so I won't even try to convey its full scope. But it's everywhere, including the fleur-de-lis on the water-pipe covers and the door knockers with lions' faces.
Random impressions about the major art I saw:
Michelangelo's David is just breathtaking - photos cannot capture its magnitude. You have to go through a few rooms of the Accademia before you get to it and, even though I'd done some research, I wasn't sure where it was.
Then I got to a doorway and saw, in the next room, people all looking in the same direction with looks of awe. This was the room, a very long room with the David standing at the other end in a round, three-story space. There is a bench lining the half-circle behind the statue and a few chairs and other benches placed so people can see the front. I would sit for a while, then move around, thinking that I was mere feet away from something Michelangelo touched.
I spent about five minutes contemplating the taut tendon behind his left knee and the ribs in his left side. Maybe three minutes just looking at his toenails. And that right hand, the one that I believe is the most beautiful hand in all of art. I also bought an Accademia guidebook which included several closeup photos and discovered that Michelangelo carved his pupils in the shape of hearts. Magnifico!
I also saw Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" and had to restrain myself from crying. But this was during a guided tour of the Uffizi, so I couldn't linger as I did with the David.
I can't begin to remember the hundreds and hundreds of paintings and sculptures I saw on this trip, ones that I've dreamed of seeing in the "flesh" for decades. Timeless works by Durer, Raphael, Giotto . . . I could go on and on.
I don't think I'll ever go to another place in the world that will have as much meaning to me as Florence does.