Tag Archives: giotto

Florence, Day 17: Awaiting My Sweetie

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Art, food, wine, coffee, museums, history … fKeep it coming, Florence! I’m loving it!

I’m a bit baffled that it has already been 17 days. Time does indeed fly. My husband is en route to join me as I type this, and I am truly excited about that.

Being in the moment is the only cure for time flying. You really only have right now. Right now, I’m sitting in my freshly cleaned (if a bit wilted) apartment, with a pleasant warm breeze floating in as day turns to night. I can see a magnificent sky as the sun contemplates setting. I’m enjoying a glass of Chianti and dark chocolate, thinking about making that Caprese salad I’m going to enjoy in a bit, with basil I’ve been growing on my windowsill. I had hopes of cooking while I was here, but why? The food out there is too good and easy to come by, so rarely do I eat at home.

Tomorrow night I will take my love to either the Piazza Michelangelo or Fiesole to watch this grand display and let someone else prepare the food. Tonight, however, I will rest up; before you know it, I will be a “tour guide” sharing “my” city with my sweetie.

But it is not my city. I’m just an admirer here, a passerby, like so many who come here to Florence to study, to visit and to let the extreme grandeur of its past wash over our present in hopes of making a better tomorrow. That is why we come, to brush elbows with a truly epic time in history when some of the world’s all0time greatest minds were here in this, not-so-big Tuscan town. In the span of just over 200 years, this city, truly — without putting them on this pedestal I warn of — was home to genius. Dante, Galileo, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Giotto, Donatello and Botticelli to name just a few. Poets, writers, painters, sculptors and all artists have been drawn here ever since. So does the city rub off on you? Of course. But still, it is a pilgrimage. You have to remember, everywhere you go, there you are.

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To the far left, that tiny figure sitting along the wall — that’s me, working!

So today, there I was. I’m still more a studio painter than a plein air one. There is nothing like being outside, but it is more difficult — to get comfortable, to have what you need, to work with ease. Francesca is a great teacher and she pushes me.

Today we went to the Arno to paint the river and the Ponte Vecchio. We alternated between the view along the edge of the river and the comfort of the park nearby.

I don’t, I feel, do my best work in plein air. It’s ideas, feelings; I’m planting the seeds of that will sprout later in my studio. But it was lovely, a “romanticized” thing to do, to sit along the River Arno and create.

I’m working differently here; the architecture of a city and the smaller sizes require more detail, more study. It is, after all, the Florentine way. Francesca, though, is all about the feeling and less concerned about detail, a perfect way to wrap up my Florence study.

Tomorrow I am off from “school” to pick up my hubby at the airport and settle him in. I will take a few more breaks from blogging as well. For everything there is a season.

As I sit here reflecting, I wonder, what were the trips that changed or most influenced you? I know there are many stories out there because places are like people — they affect you!

The sky tonight from my apartment!

The sky tonight from my apartment!

Florence, Day 9: Art History and Its Reflections on Humanity

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On the edge of my seat, hanging on every word rolling off the tongue of my art history  professor, which sounded like a song then and still is music in my ears. That was me, back in college. Who knew this world of art and history was so rich with humanism. To think it is only about the art is to close your eyes to truth. Art history is simply the most beautiful representation of people and how they responded to a time.

We Americans, as an Italian friend of mine recently reminded me, are so wonderfully optimistic. We believe anything is possible and that we as humans are capable of anything. But we are young, our history short, and we do not walk in the footsteps of our history to remind us, to steer us and guide us. It is both our greatest strength and our greatest detriment, for history is a great, great teacher.

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The Renaissance was a response to to many years in darkness. In Medieval times, man meant nothing and achieved little; it is also called the Dark Ages. Only serving God as the church dictated mattered.

The Renaissance was man saying, “Yes, but if God created us in his image, then we do matter. He has blessed us with gifts and talents and we must use them. We have to be the best we can be.”

Let man shine on. The art of this time reflected this attitude and encouraged it. The art honored Gods creation: man. The art influenced the common people to shine. It was a sort of permission slip.

History has a natural pendulum swing. Art reflects how a given people respond to that. And if I may say so, art is such a beautiful way to be taught.

Today started at the Brancacci chapel, where some say Masaccio created the first real Renaissance painting, making the change from Medieval art, where the work was flat, without perspective, and it’s only purpose to glorify God and teach the illiterate masses Bible stories. These paintings honor god’s creation: man and Earth.

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The Renaissance is about humanism, and these humans have expressions on their faces, there is perspective and form, and the lines show more than a outline but a real life scene. Bring on living life out loud and in full color.

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The day went on, and I explored with my teacher Santa Croce, my favorite church in Florence with Giotto (the man who started thinking Renaissance thoughts 100 years ahead of time), the tombs of Dante and Michelangelo and 274 others. The frescos are late Medieval and show the hints of what is to come in the Renaissance. The cloisters are delightful. I could hang out here all day, but my stomach is telling me it’s time for edible art.

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The rest of the day I wandered, reflecting on what we learn from those who go before us. Me, my sketchbook and the city where the front page of the newspaper usually features something about art. Sigh — I have found kindred spirits.

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Live for your passions, allow for beauty and look back only to learn as you move forward, believing you can, in fact, do anything!

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