Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Italy Sketchbook. Day Five...the Art of Florence

I was incredibly excited about our third day in Florence. We scheduled tickets for the Accademia and the Uffizi galleries, and I could hardly wait to visit both! See Michelangelo's David - in person!!! I had goosebumps. We only had to walk a few blocks from our hotel to the Accademia gallery. I don't have any pictures from the inside, as cameras were not permitted inside either gallery. (I highly recommend booking ticket times in advance - the lines at both galleries are VERY long if you have not pre-ordered your tickets)

Once inside the Academia, I had to pace myself as we got closer to the David...it was almost overwhelming to me to think about standing in front of that iconic sculpture. SO I stopped in the corridor of the "Slave" sculptures, and drew a quick sketch of a this Pieta.

This is actually the third drawing I did...from a sculpture by Lorenzo Bartolini in an adjacent room. I was thrilled when I came around to the front of the sculpture to see it's name "Nymph of the Scorpion". As a scorpio, it felt like I was meant to love that piece! Ah...and here he is! I spent a glorious 20 minutes studying the handsome David (the second most handsome David I know) What an incredible piece. Of course I cannot describe it any better than it has been described a million times before, but I can tell you, that seeing it in person is breath-taking. Awe-inspiring. I hope every artist gets to see it in their lifetime.

As I sat on a chair and sketched, the busy gallery was filled with tourists trying ever so subtly, and not so subtly, to sneak a picture or two of the famous sculpture. The poor gallery guides were going hoarse and showed growing frustration as they continued shouting "no pictures" "no photo" "no video" on deaf ears. Others stopped frequently to watch my progress as I drew. I kept thinking "why are you even looking at me?!?! DAVID is right there!"

It made me so happy to be an artist at that moment - to be able to sit and study his face, to capture the gesture of his hand, to appreciate the enormity of the task to create such an piece. I loved every minute of it, and could have stayed all day drawing every possible angle! Luckily, I threw some coins in the Trevi fountain, so I am assured a return trip to Italy...when I shall draw some more!

After we left the Academia, we took a leisurely break at a restaurant in the Piazzo Republica. This was a great place to do some people watching.

We also passed by the Cathedral of Florence, an incredible church that is one of the iconic images of the city. I was impressed with just the side....until I saw the front!

It is just spectacular.

The detail on the door is exquisite!

It is a huge church, and the size is really incomprehensible unless you are standing at the door looking up.

I took several photos of some of the gorgeous sculptures on the front. Their faces and gestures were beautiful. Humbling, to say the least.

This sculpture looked like it was blessing you as you entered the church.

This face! Amazing!
We did not go inside, but perhaps when we return (see...another reason to go back!)

OK this was a funny little detour. Hidden among the side streets as you leave the Academia is a small museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. David and I ventured in and paid to go "behind the magic curtain" and see some machines built according to some of the sketches made by Leonardo. It was actually quite fun and interesting! Often you see a sketch of an idea and don't appreciate it's full potential/beauty in design until you can see it 3-dimensionally, in action. Something as simple as a chain for a bicycle - flippers for swimming - ball bearings - all of these things were part of his body of work. Above I am standing in a mirrored room! (the only place I shot an illegal photo!) Not quite sure of the PURPOSE of the mirrored room, but it was there!

Heading away from the cathedral...on our way to the Uffizi Gallery.

A quick shot of a typical street scene in Florence - a line up of about 100 vespa scooters! I really wanted to know - how did the drivers know which one was theirs? They all looked the same!
We then arrived at the Loggia dei Lanzi and the Piazza della Signoria.

These pictures are a little out of order so bear with me...this is the sculpture "Rape of the Sabine". A popular sculpture in tons of Art history books...quite stunning and emotional in person.

There's my David checking out a copy of Michaelangelo's David (the copy pales in comparisson to the real thing!) near the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio.

Me sitting in the outdoor sculpture gallery with the David behind me (not sure what's up with my hair in this picture...)

This sculpture, "The Rape of Polyxena", by Pio Fedi, was right in front of me, and we had some time before our scheduled entry into the Uffizi gallery, so I did this quick sketch.

This is at the entrance of the Uffizi near the Arno River. (I am happier than I look, I swear)

The courtyard area. David was incredulous that they were actually using that crane to lift large construction equipment over the heads of the tourists...he said OSHA would be furious!

A sculpture of Leonardo...I should have asked him about that mirrored room...

I don't remember who this is, but I was just amazed at the facial expression and gesture of this sculpture.

(From the other side)

We could not take pictures inside the Ufizi, but I will tell you...it was a little redundant. Not my favorite gallery over-all. However, it is striking to see how brilliantly the artists handle all different types of materials and surfaces...I also wanted to reach out and touch the velvet on some of the outfits! There were some very recognizable pieces, including the Diptych of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero Della Francesca (the best profile in Art History, IMO), and the Birth of Venus by Botticelli (the eyes in his work and incredible), and The Venus of Urbino by Titian. There were many others that I recognized.
There was a secret treasure hidden on the back of one of the Triptychs...a delicate painting of dove landing on a figure (the image on the left) (The Portinari Triptych)

We ended up at the roof of the museum, enjoying the perfect weather and incredible views of the city. By far my favorite "art" day in Florence...so far!


Nancy said...

Thank you for posting all these wonderful photos of your trip to Italia. I got to see David in 1968 when my parents took me on a trip through Italy. Every day was one marvel after another. I have spent all my adult life trying to get back to see it all again. Perhaps one day. But I truly appreciate your sharing, it's almost like being there.

Krystyna81 said...

Nancy...I do hope you get to return! I think I started planning a return trip the minute I landed in Venice. Thank you for the comment, I'm so glad you are enjoying my re-cap.

Krystyna81 said...

Nancy...in case you see this...I saw your blog - congrats on the sales! how exciting! And I do hope you can fix your comment feature - I tried to leave one! Best of luck and keep creating/selling!

Ann van Poperingen said...

I just found your etsy shop and your work is so beautiful and inspiring! Your figure drawings make me want to be back in foundation studies at art school or in Italy drawing sculptures all day:)
Check out my stuff if your interested. I've got some drawings on my website...figure drawings from Berlin:)

Rob Reeves said...

Great shots! Florence is one of my favorite cities. Thanks for sharing.