Florence

The details of Michelangelo’s David

052    On March 6th, the anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarrotti’s birthday I had the chance to finally visit the David. Upon walking into the Accademia there is no excitement, the first room is yellow tinted with unappealing lighting. In the center stands an early cast of Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna, the walls carry scattered paintings. Turn left and you enter a long hallway where suddenly the David strikes you. The hallway includes a number of statues by Michelangelo as well but they are impossible to focus on when there is the beacon of natural light meeting marble at then end of the hall.

It is impossible not to rush straight ahead to the David. He stands on a pediment, and although I have seen the one in Piazza della Signoria, I thought the real statue was smaller. This massive larger than life statue holds your attention. A large part of this is due to its position.  A jewel of the museum it is almost as if the museum was built around this statue, rather than having it moved there later.

Michelangelo David Florence

 

When I imagined David smaller, I imagined the viewer could meet his gaze, whereas in reality Michelangelo’s ability to create moving emotion shows through and David intently looks up to his left, as if meeting the gaze of Goliath.  In reality, it originally looked to Rome, a message sent from the Medici Democracy to the Papal State.

While his gaze does not meet the views, the strong aspect of his hand and his overall presence within the space is enough to complete a sense of awe.

Michelangelo's David Gaze Michelangelo's David, Hand detail

Once the viewer can pull themselves back into the moment, away from the statue, the other statues in the hall become clearer. Of these 6 other statues, 4 are Michelangelo’s unfinished Slaves, meant to be placed on the Pope Julius II tomb. While they may not seem “beautiful” in our eyes that are trained to see finished works as beautiful, they reveal a new part of the process. How does a block of marble become an inspiring work of art? Michelangelo carved from the front back, having the figures emerge. When looking at these however, it appears the reverse, that the figures are slowly melting back into the marble.

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People Watching in Florence

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I have found I love using people in photography since shooting for WLFR, I also just love to people watch. This past weekend I went up to Florence to do a shoot with two friends. I was able to get some amazing shots (more to come on flickr), and also finally visit the Uffizi. I started a whole set of photos of people looking at the Birth of Venus, however this was the only one that came out well. I must say after this trip through Florence I did enjoy it much more.  I hope to do a lot more of these photoshoots soon!

Fruit, Gelato and God.

Fruit, Gelato and God.

( Click to enlarge)
A small piazza around the corner from the Trevi, where a food cart waits for tourists and a church stands alone.

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Looking Back: Travels of 2013

This year has been filled with travels. Other than my home in Rome I went to, Kosovo,Macedonia,  Florence, Corfu, Cairo, Pompeii/Naples, Torino, and then back to the states twice! It was quite an adventurous year, and I am so glad I have been able to share all these travels with every one of you! As the year is coming down I thought it would be fun to share a couple of my favorites from the past year.

Favorite Photo: It is not one of my bests necessarily, but I love this photo all the same, something about it just feels right. I have included it before but I thought I would share for this post.Image

Favorite Place I visited: It is a close tie between Torino and Cairo. I loved Cairo but I really wish I could have seen more in the daylight and had a bit more touristic freedom, rather than acting as a guest to a local. It was good for some things, but limited my desire to adventure at random. Torino I had full freedom and it was very enjoyable, however I was only there for a weekend so it might have been different had I stayed. These two are just so different it really is hard to compare!

Favorite Meal: I will have to say Kosovo for this one. We got dinner at Tiffany’s for 30 euros, which was split between three of us and included an amazing salad which had beets, 4 main course dishes which was shared among the table, as well as other side dishes and drinks. It was mainly veal, with very different sauces. Everything was so fresh and the restaurant had an open kitchen so you were able to see the food being prepared. The whole thing was incredibly filling and just so different from anything I have ever and before it was wonderful.

Favorite Drink: Bicerin in Torino of course! Nothing could compare, this is pure ecstasy in a glass, one of them and the day becomes 50 shades brighter. Don’t be the person who points out how many

espresso, then chocolate, then heavy frothed c...

espresso, then chocolate, then heavy frothed cream… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

calories are in the chocolate and whipped cream… no one likes that person.

Best memory of the year: This actually has nothing to do with travelling, but it was coming home for my friend’s wedding, I was able to see all my friends from high school and have a fantastic weekend. That was absolutely the highlight of my year.

Firenze: Birth of Renaissance?

For the past year of studying in Rome I really have not left Rome that often, except for day hikes in Cinque Terra and a trip to Hadrians Gardens. Finally after spending the last year learning about the birth of the Renaissance I took a two day trip to Florence with my dad.

 

To be honest I was not very impressed at least with the art.

 

Of course we only stayed in the Old City, so I can’t say much about the whole city.

At first, the architecture is very beautiful, I will admit that, the Duomo and Baptistery are incredible. As well as Santa Maria Novella, the first church one see’s when leaving the station.

 

However even the Duomo was a bit confusing, I was extremely impressed with the church and facade because I had believed it was built in the 1400-1500’s, but nothing written around the church said any different, until I went to the museum. There I learned only the dome is truly original and the church had been redone almost every 100 years, the current facade is from the 1800’s. So yes, it is beautiful, but I suppose that the late age makes it less impressive, at least to me (this is actually something we discussed in Art History class, which I will discuss later).

 

While it was beautiful to walk around in, there is not one thing affordable, it is all designer stores, Gucci on every corner, since Florence is the home of Gucci.

 

The art and gold trader influence is still present today, with artists studios open and they work outside so visitors can see. The Ponte Vecchio is all jewelery shops, perfect place to buy an engagement ring, but not much else.

 

So while the outside was pretty, I couldn’t wait to wander into churches and see all this art I had heard about. Well, I still am very unclear where all this amazing art is, I’m guessing the Uffizi took it all, because I was not able to make it in there. The churches were empty, white walls, with one painting per chapel. Though I am sure some may prefer this, I am used to Roman churches, in which every inch is covered with art by a well known artist.

 

I did of course see a few works by Fillipino Lippi, Donatello’s Mary Magdalene and the famous painting of Dante with his divine comedy. The inside of the Medici palace was very decorated with most works by Vasari, however otherwise, the main churches were very empty and boring.

 

I was able to finally distinguish that Northern Italian style of painting, with the very bright and bold colors.

 

But overall I must say Florence can really be done in a day trip, unless you are planning on the Uffizi.

 

The only things absolutely amazing about Florence, was the view from the top of the Duomo’s Tower and the food. But the food truly deserves a post on it’s own, so until then here are a few photos:

 I was shooting with a Macro lense, so I was not able to capture the whole thing, but above,  there is a bit of the facade of the Duomo.

 

 This is the outside of the Medici Pallazzo with a beautiful sculpture outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 The Firenze Lions. Located in the outdoor Uffizi section, in front of the Medici Palace.

 

 Oh, Another very amazing piece of art was that of a small chapel located in the museum section of Santa Maria Novella. The paintings are medieval and show different allegories and stories of the Christian faith.

 

 Above being my favorite, it represents the Triumph of the Christian Doctorine, here are all the individuals:  The angels at the very top represent Faith, Charity, Hope, Temperance, Prudence, Justice and Fortitube, from left to right. Then the second register is St. Thomas Aquinas with from left to right, Job, David, St. Paul, St Mark St Matthew,  then the three heretics:Nestor, Arius and Averrous, then: St. John the Evangelist, Luke, Moses, Isaiah, and Solomon.

 

Finally the Bottom list is Civil Law –Justinian, Canonical Law –Clement V, Philosophy –Aristotle, Holy Scriptures –St. Jerome, Theology –St. John of Damascus, Contemplation –St. Dionysus, Preaching –St. Augustine, Arithmetic –Pythagoras, Geometry –Euclid, Astronomy –Ptolemy, Music –Tubalcain, Dialectics –Pietro Ispano,  Rhetoric –Cicero,  and Grammar with Priscian.