Thursday, October 9, 2008

Getting culturally acquainted with the Uffizi

According to Wiki, the Uffizi gallery is one of the oldest and most famous art museum in the world, holding many of the world's most important art treasures. Admittedly, given my limited knowledge of the art world, I only knew of the Louvre before this visit.

As mentioned in my previous post, a copy of the David sculpture was placed outside the Uffizi, amongst other sculptures. We spent some time perfecting our poses in front of David, especially Mr Irish.


Mr Irish's attempt at doing a David pose


Ms Rehau took this - I'm taking a pic of Mr Irish doing the David pose. Lol.

Each of us bought the Uffizi museum guide, one of our best buys ever since we frequented the museums and churches in Italy. Thanks to the detailed descriptions in the guide, we were able to better appreciate the artists' psyches and intended meanings of their art pieces, and hence able to stay longer at the museum.

Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed to be taken within the museum. Might be a good thing after all, since I'd tend to get engrossed taking pictures rather than properly appreciating the paintings.


The distinctive U-shaped architecture of the Uffizi


Uffizi's roof top. This is as far as it goes for photo taking within the Uffizi

I mentioned that it is here, that I saw enough of the Madonna and Child theme to last a lifetime. Other than that, other oft-repeated biblical themes include the Annunciation, Adoration of the Magi, the Holy Family, the Coronation of the Virgin, etc. I could almost memorise them. hah.

The Uffizi has a total of 45 rooms, the core of its collection comprises works from the 13th to 18th century. Main artists represented are Giotto, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, Titian and Caravaggio.

My favourite artist of the lot is Sandro Botticelli, whose famous work, Birth of Venus, graced many Florentine publications, like the museum guide here, and the map of Florence. As a fan of Greek and Roman mythologies, my favourite Botticelli works were the Birth of Venus, (Venus is the goddess of love, beauty, fertility) and Primavera, where the 3 Graces (goddesses of charm, beauty, and creativity) are featured. His style is so distinctive, I managed to recognise his work displayed in the Louvre, Paris, even without looking at the artist's tag.

One of our best buys ever



Birth of Venus


Primavera


Both images are from Wikipedia.

Since there were so many rooms and we had only 1 day to explore the museum, we weren't able to finish viewing everything. I did learn something (other than the artists' tendencies to use biblical themes in their paintings) from all these museum visits though. Renaissance artists are fond of incorporating nudity in their works. I also learnt more about the stories told in the bible, like stories of Eden and Eve, the Heroine Judith and her slaying of Holofernes, David and Goliath, and many more. The stories told by the paintings were so interesting, they made me interested to read the bible like a story book.

We had our favourite gelatos after we exited the Uffizi. Refreshing for the palate, considering the still hot weather in Florence (but not as hot as Rome). We deliberately walked towards the Arno river, en route to our hostel.


The river Arno





An artist's works on sale by the river bank


The streets near the river bank. Mostly goldsmith shops.

Through the Uffizi, I felt culturally acquainted to the city of Florence.

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