joy magnetism: Capitale d'arte del mondo

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Capitale d'arte del mondo

Magnet #648 - Botticelli's Birth of Venus

I've heard that Florence is the art capital of the world. This would not be a lie.

Today we did both the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Galleria dell'Accademia - seeing the masterworks of guys like Giotto, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Canaletto, Dürer, Caravaggio, and of course, Botticelli.

Here's the thing. I've been to a few museums around the world - it's what I do. But, today's visit to both museums pretty much blew me away. And I'm not an Italian artchick to save my life. But, it's one thing to see art from the later half of the 20th century in NY, Paris or London, but to see Medieval and Renaissance works of art in the country of its birth is another. They don't call these things masterpieces for nothing!

And, the Botticelli on this magnet, the rising of Venus from the sea surrounded by the Zephyrs and the Horai, was painted supposedly for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici around 1482. Dudes, that's a whole decade before Columbus decided to sail the ocean blue!

But, while the works of art were amazing, the palace itself was fantastic. It was built in the mid-1500s, originally designed by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo de' Medici, who's hanging out in front of Palazzo Vecchio on his horse. It's original use was to house administrative offices (hence the name, Uffizi). The design is pretty fantastic, with two long, long fresco'd corridors, forming a rectangle, with interior mazes of rooms that will knock your socks off, with one impressive collection of artists' work after another.

My favorite part, was seeing when the works of art became part of the Uffizi collection. Like the paintings that joined the collection around 1793. They've been hanging out on the walls since 1793! That's about 20 years after the American Revolution! And the paintings were old back then!

It's supercool, though, to think of the people who passed those same halls looking at the same paintings we saw, and writing home to tell about it. I love that you can see the old plaques beside the paintings, and even some of the exhibit numbers on their frames - clearly remnants of museum designs past. So cool.

Ok, Florence. You got me. After a crappy first day, you managed to make it up to me today. And I haven't talked about seeing Michelangelo's David up close and personal, or the to-die-for profiteroles I had at Rivoire, the first chocolatier in Florence!

Mille grazie, Firenze.
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