Monday, September 22, 2008

Hopping Through History

This past weekend I saw some of the greatest pieces of art of all time.  I'm not exaggerating.  I finally made it to the Uffizi Gallery.  They really should change the name from a "gallery" to a "giant mansion of art. "  Needless to say, it was amazing, mind blowing, inspirational, and (at times) emotional.  

The museum is set up chronologically, starting with the International Gothic.  We cannot talk about International Gothic art without talking about Giotto.  He was was the father of the renaissance and took what they were doing in International Gothic and introduced humanism and perspective.

Here is Giotto's Madonna and Child Enthrowned.  The crazy thing was that it was right next to Cimabue's Madonna and Child Enthrowned.  These two altarpieces are considered the turning point into renaissance.  There is a great sense of space and naturalistic qualities that the artists incorporated that hadn't been seen before.  Oh, and these things are HUGE and I had my face 6 inches away from it!  Insane.  

So the cool thing about the gallery being chronologically set up is that you know what pieces and artists are coming next... you just don't know in what room they will show.  So I got to the beginning of High Renaissance and knew that Botticelli was coming up.  And sure enough, I turned into another room and there in front of me was...
La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.  This piece is in my top 5 favorite/inspirational works of art.  It is breathtaking and I'm sure if someone was watching me they'd get a kick out of how my face contorted as I scanned the painting.  I just ... it's so ... gahhh, AMAZING.  Ha, and on the next wall was Botticelli's Birth of Venus.  I think I spent a good 45 minutes in this alone.  

I made my way through the end of the Renaissance, seeing works from both Michelangelo (his Holy Family) and an unfinished piece my Leonardo di Vinci.  Both cool, but Michelangelo was a sculptor and Leonardo's was unfinished, so I didn't spend too much time with those.  After the renaissance came one of my favorite art movements: the Baroque.  And the father of Baroque was Caravaggio.  

Here is Caravaggio's Bacchus.  He was notorious for using street people/gypsies as his models.  This is a pretty well know painting of a street boy posing as the god of wine.  Amazing detail and even though this isn't a great example of his Baroque work, its still incredible.  Sadly, now you can find this image on cheap Chianti ... like at Trader Joe's.

This is Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes.  Gentileschi is one of my favorite artists and is considered second to Caravaggio in Baroque painting.  This is quite a feat as women were not generally respected as painters back in the day.  She does such a great job at using tenebrism, which is a method of having a strong source of light that creates heavy chiaroscuro, or lights and darks, making a very deep 3-D visual.  

Besides the Uffizi, I went to the Santa Felicita Church and saw Pontormo's Deposition, a work that exemplifies mannerism.  Its a huge fresco and stunning.  

Alright, time to get some sleep in this freezing apartment.  I need a blanket . . . . Buonanotte!


Gummy Choco said...

I want to see you look at the La Primavera..hehe.

Richmond said...

Where is the Italian phrase of the day? When can I visit?

Kris said...

In Global History of Food I remember learning about how wine used to be drunk, in glasses such as those in Bacchus. The idea is that your whole face is in the wine- you can smell it, see it... fully experience it, haha.
Sounds like you had an awesome experience!