A Beautiful Day & A Lot of Art

The entire day was gorgeous – not a cloud in the sky.

Although rain and overcast skies had been predicted, we woke up this morning to bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. It actually took me a few moments to realize what was going on – I knew things looked different but it didn’t initially occur to me that the reason for that was because there were no low clouds hanging in the sky for a change.

We washed a load of clothes and hung them up, and – shock and awe! – almost everything was dry in a couple of hours. We’ve been having to hang our things up around the house and over the radiators the past several days in order to get our clothes dry so this made the sunshine even more appreciated.

In the early afternoon we set out to visit L’Accademia, with a stop for gelato along the way. As we were walking, my worst nightmare came true: I tripped and fell. My foot hit the edge of a broken cobblestone which threw me off balance and down I went. Several people rushed over to help, and one young man offered to call an ambulance, but thankfully all that was damaged was my pride – I did not hit my head or break or even sprain anything. It could have been a lot worse though.

We arrived at the museum at around 3:45 and there was NO LINE. Nothing – we walked right in a and bought our tickets just like that. There were others in the museum, but it wasn’t crowded at all and we had time to look at everything and not feel pressured or overwhelmed.

Michelangelo’s David was purely gorgeous. The statue stands under a glass dome, and with today’s sunshine he was bathed in natural light to breathtaking effect. Both Brett and I took our time examining the beautiful work. I had never noticed before how huge David’s hands are, but they are another example of Michelangelo size and proportion to great effect.

One of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures – they were left behind in his Florence studio when he moved to Rome.

A closer look at Michelangelo’s chisel work

We also were able to see several statues that Michelangelo had begun but never finished, and it was quite something to view his chisel work in various stages, up close.

Some of the paster models we viewed were life-sized, and were made in pieces and reassembled for the sculptor. The dark spots on the models were for measurement.

The facial area on the plaster models were often covered with dots as measurements for the sculptor had to be very precise.

One room at the museum was filled with plaster models for sculptures and busts. At first we wondered about all the marks on the statues, but learned they were measurements for the plaster models to be reassembled and for the artist to use as they chiseled the stone. Some of the original plaster molds from the Renaissance are still being used today to make reproductions.

A Stradivari violin from the 17th century.

I wonder how long it took to learn to play the Snake.

The museum also holds a wonderful collection of Renaissance musical instruments, including some Stradivari stringed instruments, early harpsichords, and both wind and brass instruments.

Most paintings of the Virgin and Child show them with soft, calm and loving expressions.

This Virgin and Child have very suspicious expressions on their faces – very disconcerting.

This image was quite disconcerting as well.

And of course there were numerous Renaissance paintings, all glorious. I always enjoy looking at the facial expressions in the paintings. Usually they are fairly generic and clearly show what the person is experiencing – sadness, anguish, happiness, calm, etc. – but some times you have to wonder what the artist had in mind when he painted a particular expression on a face. More than a few of the artists seem to lack skill in painting babies.

We had planned to stop for a pizza before coming home, but both of our favorite restaurants were closed so we ended up enjoying wine, cheese, salami and crackers at home. It was a beautiful day!

10 thoughts on “A Beautiful Day & A Lot of Art

  1. JJ says:

    When I visited David in 2011, we were not permitted to take photos, so it’s nice you were able to. I just looked it up and they started allowing non-flash photography in 2014, so that’s interesting. Guess I’ll have to go back. I’m shocked there was no line to get in!

    I agree about Renaissance art. Some of it is amazing and some is creepy, but I also have wondered if that is more about the artist’s lack of skill or if it was intentional. Either way, it’s a lost art.

    Glad to hear you were not badly injured in the fall. I know that must have been a scary moment.

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    • Laura says:

      There is still a “no flash photography” sign up but the light was perfect for photos and they probably gave up trying to stop people from taking photos now that so many people use their phone camera.

      We were shocked too that there was no line – we’ve got our fingers crossed that the amount of visitors of the Uffizi will be small(er) when we go next Tuesday, but that may be wishing for too much.

      I’m a little banged up (a few bruises) and sore, but am otherwise fine!

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  2. Kay says:

    So glad this ended with “it was a beautiful day” ….with you falling and all. Glad it wasn’t worse!

    Weird question but in general do you two feel safe in all your day to day activities? Interacting with locals, traffic, trains, planes, living in your rental etc……?

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    • Laura says:

      I have been terrified of falling because of the cobblestones, and have been very careful watching where I step but I missed yesterday. I’m very lucky – it could have been a lot worse.

      We have felt very safe so far, but we’re careful when we’re out and about, not flashy with money or credit cards, etc. The rentals have all been wonderful and in good neighborhoods, so no fears there either. There are signs up all over to be careful of pickpockets, and we know they don’t stand out, so we’re extra careful with our wallets, passports, etc.

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    • Laura says:

      It took me a few moments to realize I was actually seeing the REAL statue of David yesterday – there is a (good) copy near the Uffizi, but it pales in comparison to the original. I am so glad we got to go yesterday, and hope our experience at the Uffizi next week is as good!

      I’m OK, although the fall gave me a good scare. I’m more sore this evening from carrying my backpack around all day (we’re up in the Cinque Terre).

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  3. M'Shell says:

    Thats great that there wasn’t a line and the place wasn’t crowded. When we went to the Louvre Museum it was packed. It almost felt like a mosh pit trying to see the Mona Lisa (which was much smaller than I expected). My favorite thing from the visit to the Louvre was the Venus de Milo. It was amazing to see such a life-like statue made out of marble!

    Seeing the picture of the stradivarius reminded me of this NPR story I recently heard that you might enjoy.
    https://www.npr.org/2018/10/09/654490918/the-tale-of-the-stolen-totenberg-stradivarius-ends-with-a-new-legacy

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    • Laura says:

      We didn’t even try to go to the Louvre there were so many people! But you are so right – it is amazing when you see the actual work of art after having only seen pictures of it.

      Thanks for the article – I will read it when I get back to Florence (computer battery is low and we didn’t bring along the charger). I looked at the Stradivari violin and other pieces for a long time. They looked perfectly normal and yet I knew I was seeing something very special and remarkable.

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  4. Laurel Hill says:

    Happy you finally got sunshine! ☀️ And SO glad you weren’t injured. My fall and subsequent visit to the ER/CT scan/etc were not fun. Those cobblestones have a reputation for a reason. 😬

    Love the pics. I think that was my favorite museum in Florence. And David! We walked around him several times. You were SO lucky (and smart) to go when you did and have no lines. I was also intrigued by some of the art. Wonderful, weird, and everything in between. LOL. The plaster casts were also intriguing to us.

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    • Laura says:

      I wish the sunshine had come along with us to the Cinque Terre, but no such luck – as we got close the clouds rolled in. Thankfully it didn’t rain, and rain is not expected tomorrow either.

      Both Brett and I enjoyed L’Accademia – it was just the right size – we weren’t completely worn out before seeing everything which happened at the Bargello. We were shocked to find there was no line – we were prepared to have to wait for a while since we didn’t have advance tickets and then walked right in. Amazing!

      I woke up this morning and sure knew I had taken a tumble. I’m a bit sore (I split my lip) and banged up and have found a few bruises, but thankfully nothing major was damaged. Believe me, your fall was the first thing I thought of when I went down, but I didn’t hit my head so was lucky with that. My glasses also got kind of dinged up – need to get to someplace and have them refitted (and am very glad I brought along a spare pair). I’m more sore though from having to carry around my backpack today!

      Liked by 1 person

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