Thu, Oct 31st, 2013 Ceramic Workshops in Italy
THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE RENAISSANCE!
Though the Renaissance began across Europe, it was felt most strongly and left the greatest lasting impression in Italy's Florence. I spent 6 nights in this great city.
I fell in love with Italy as I taught in the rolling hills of Certaldo and was wowed by the beauty of the seaside towns of the Cinque Terre, but Florence stole my heart.
It is a city that loves art and artists. I was moved to silence as I was overcome by its accomplishments. It is hard to imagine being in Florence and not being moved by the history of it all. They say in the 15th century, Florence was the place to be.
I spent my days perusing the many expected and a few unexpected museums. I walked agape through gallery halls as I tried to take in the explosive creativity of the 1400's. A city built by the banking industry, the money flowed, and art was a powerful commodity, an expression of achievement. To the credit of the Medici family, so many artists were celebrated & employed throughout the city.
Inspired by the sculptures in the Piazza della Signoria, adjacent to the Uffizi Museum, I would visit everyday, as the light changed and the crowd ebbed and flowed, just to see & feel them again. It is hard not to be wowed by the replica of the David, across from which is a sculpture of Hercules and of course further down, Neptune Fountain.
They were all amazing, but no sculpture took my attention as strongly as Giambologna's 'The Rape of Sabine'. This is a sculptural, artistic and scientific feat. The story is rooted in historic lore where the Romans abducted the neighboring Sabine women because the Sabine men would not allow them to marry Romans. This was not a rape as we know it today, rather, it was an acquisition of the women, who, once taken into Roman possession, were given free will to leave if they chose and offered full property rights if they stayed. Context is everything.
The statue renders a dynamic array of emotions, in poses that offer multiple viewpoints all carved from one piece of marble. When contrasted with the serene single-viewpoint pose of the nearby Michelangelo's David, it is a stellar masterpiece. I loved the viewpoints, of course, but the seeming plasticity of the hardened marble and the delicacy of the details is just amazing.
There are barely words for all I saw, so here are some more pictures.