Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday, September 4, 2006

The program definitely starts out with a bang. We had only been at the villa for a day and a half, and we were already off on our first adventure in Florence. What a day it was. As usual on these adventures, we had to get up early to catch the bus that connects with the next bus that then connects to the train that goes to Florence. I was tired, but I figured I would be able to manage. I had been not taking my Unisom, and I was definitely suffering the consequences.

When we got to Florence, Jeffrey of course stopped off at the local coffee shop. I ended up buying a sandwich that I was sure was going to be my lunch, but that really ended up being my after breakfast snack. I got a chance to visit with Darla while we ate.

When we were done with the coffee, it was time to get down to business. We got a chance to stand outside the Duomo and Baptistery in Florence. The whole group got to stand up very close and touch the bronze doors on three sides of the Baptistery. We got to see copies of what Michelangelo named the “doors to Paradise,” and which I would absolutely agree. After looking at the outside, we went to see the things in the Museum of the Works of the Duomo.

The museum stands where the work yard for the Duomo used to stand. It is the place that the block stood for so many years before Michelangelo was asked to turn it into the David. It was also the place that he then stood and carved the years while he was making the David. It seemed to be a sacred workshop to me because it was the area where such a wonderful work of art was stored. The museum had a million things in it that were complete masterpieces. You would have to look a complete listing of the things up online. I was able to see the Deposition that Michelangelo was carving for his own tomb, which was very memorable. I also got to see a pulpit by Donatello and one by Nicolo Pisano. Donatello had some other sculptures in the museum, which were nice. The museum also had many drawings and other tools that had been used to make the dome. Brunelleshi himself had used many of the tools. That was very fascinating.

I got to see the last sculpture by Michelangelo that was meant for his tomb. It is a beautiful thing to stand in front of, and I was surprised at how amazingly it had been worked. It was the first sculpture by him that I had ever seen.

The original bronze “doors to Paradise” were in the museum, and the group got a chance to walk around and look at them up close. We got to look at the stories that they told as well as learn more about the Catholic religion (which most of the group [myself included] is very ignorant in). The doors were absolutely fantastic.

There was a lot of other good work in the museum, but it is too much to talk about here.

We then split off for lunch. I went with most of the group to get sandwiches. When we were done, we had gelato as the best gelato store in the world. It was really amazing, and all I have to say is that I learned how to navigate myself there for the future.

After lunch, we met and went into the Duomo. It is such a big church. One thing that really amazed me was the fact that there were no pews or places to sit. The marble inlaid floor is the original floor. I couldn’t help but think that it was the floor that Michelangelo stood while listening to the lectures by the famous, but evil Savonrola. The dome was very high, and is covered by beautiful paintings. There are too many things in the church to go over here, but all I have to say is that it is a must-see church. It is one of the most beautiful in the world, and the dome is just excellent. I think that if I lived in Florence that I wouldn’t want to worship anywhere else.

When we were done in the church, we went to the Baptistery across the street. The building for the Baptistery is very old, in fact, no one knows how old. It is for sure the oldest building in Florence. It has been ornately covered from head to toe in marble, so it is just beautiful. The entire ceiling on the inside is covered in mosaic. The dominant color in the mosaics is gold—real gold. It must have taken a long time to put the mosaics up, but it was really great to see them. They have been well taken care of. Jeffrey pointed out the Bible scenes to us, and it was a really big help. I just sat there admiring the ceiling as well as the environment it was in. The font was very incredible, and was of course where all the Florentines have been baptized. It is just an amazing building.

After that, it was late in the day, and we were all tired. We just made our way home. The day was very hot, and on the train, I ended up sitting in the sun for quite a while, and it made me very sick. I was not happy by the time I got back to the villa

Before dinner, we had an hour lecture from Peter Abbs. He talked about creativity. I realized when listening to him that a lot of what he said rang true, but I had a different understanding than I think he wanted me to have. I think that things can sometimes be looked at too complexly, and I came out of the lecture very confident of myself and where I was going with my art career. The whole thing only made me much more sure of what I was doing and why I was doing it.

Dinner was great, but I was only able to eat apples because I wasn’t feeling good. Judy noticed, and she ended up bringing me some Ricotta, which worked well with the tomatoes I could get my hands on. I was much happier.

After dinner, Jeffrey talked a lot about Dante, and we started to read one of his short works. It is translated into English that is old fashioned and a little more proper than I am used to, but I was glad to be back to reading and learning from Jeffrey.

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