Thursday, May 19, 2011

Standing in David's Shadow

I've never been much of an art history buff (this is Steve speaking, Sarah is definitely up on the art), and I would generally summarize my reactions to the art we've seen in our recent Florence museum marathon in one of two ways - either, "hey there's some art" or "Wow." Fortunately Florence is full of alot of Wow.

For instance, take the experience of walking into the city. We arrived by train, shouldered our large packs, and began the twenty minute or so journey to the center of town where our hostel is. After the incredible narrow warren of streets of Venice, Florence's broad streets felt quite navigable, especially with a map we picked up from a vendor on the street. After a number of twists and turns, we thought we might be off on the wrong track when we turned a corner and found ourselves faced with Michelangelo's David in the middle of a courtyard of other unbelievable Renaissance sculptures. We were nearly bowled over, which would have been awkward with our packs on. As it turned out, while the other statues were originals, this David was a replica of the original which is in L'Accademia. The one in the picture above is actually on a ridge overlooking the city. The point is - Florence wears the beauty of its art as a badge of honor, as it should be.

After that introduction to Florence, I've had a number of other Wow experiences. There were a few at the Duomo Museum, including one of the last of Michelangelo's works, where he has envisioned himself as one of those helping Christ off of the cross.

There was also Dante's The Beheading of John the Baptist. 

And Donatello's extremely creepy but moving Mary Magdalene.

There is something very powerful in seeing these works of art in a museum of other works from the time and realizing by contrast how exceptional they were and continue to be. Sarah will have to fill you in on the full art history analysis of the pieces, but for me, they just registered as Wow.

And Florence has definitely kept up its reputation as a city made of art. We've seen many modern pieces around the city that show how Florence is keeping up its crop of aspiring artists as well as its counterculture air.

After the past four day musuem marathon, I'm fairly convinced that there are more museums per capita here than anywhere else in the world and I very much appreciated the night we took off to go check out Pirates of the Caribbean (what number are we on now? 17?) at a restored theatre in town.

On a final note, it absolutely amazing to us that we only have two weeks left before we board a big ol jetplane and head back to Vancouver (via Istanbul, Hong Kong, and SF). We've officially began planning our reentry into society and are getting very very excited to reconnect with family, friends, and the lovely West Coast.


  1. Sorry it means the end of your awesome trip, but psyched to see you guys soon!

  2. Very excited to see you too! Can't wait to step off the plane and arrive at your nuptials :)