Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

We again decided to trek off to Florence. It feels like we have been at the villa for a long time, and it feels like the days are moving very slowly, but it is just the fact that we have fit so much activity into the days. We have been only together for 12 days, but it feels like it has been much longer.

The big days that we have in Florence have been amazing. My whole life I just keep running into the fact that the things that I want to see are all to be seen in Florence. Boticelli spent most of his life there, and as an avid follower of his life and his work, it has been amazing to walk the same streets that he was able to walk.

The first thing we did was going to the church of Santa Maria Novella. The church is right next to the train station, so it was an easy walk to get to when we got there. Of course, we stopped for the morning coffee with Jeffrey.

When we got to the church, the façade, was completely covered up and being restored, so rather than be able to lecture in front of the façade, we had to buy a postcard of it and get what details we possibly could from what we could see in the post card. The church has a graveyard around it as well as cloisters that the nuns lived in when it was an active convent.

The first thing we did was walk around the cemeteries where the noblemen of Florence are buried. When we walked in, we took a look at the space of the church. It is fabulous. It is really well decorated inside, and it is the most inviting church we had been in to. The space was so inviting and the Pisan Romanesque stripes were stylized in a method that really appealed to me. I really liked the church.

We spent time in the church looking at the architecture itself. I was very impressed with it. Above the main door in the back is a painting that is in the Boticelli style, and has been attributed to him. I was happy to see it. His work is more abundant than I originally thought, and that has made me very happy and filled me with surprise.

We then walked up to the front of the church and looked at some rater odd frescos by Filpo Lippi. We also got to look at some amazing Ghirlandio frescos that are painted in the area of the church where the main altar is. He is an incredible master, and the frescoes made me understand his work and come to respect him almost as much as I respect Boticelli. One of the other very neat things was that Michelangelo learned how to make and paint frescoes working on those exact paintings. They were a really wonderful experience.

Santa Maria Novella has a lot of other incredible things like a painting by Massachio that was one of the first to illustrate perspective and a wooden cross by Brunelleshi that was also very fabulous.
Santa Maria Novella was by far my favorite church in a lot of ways that I never would have expected.

We then walked across Florence to the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Inside a chapel are some amazing frescoes done on a collaborative effort by Massachio and Masalino. The frescoes were some of the most influential of the Renaissance, and were the first to illustrate perspective. Every artist after that time (including Michelangelo) learned to draw from those frescoes. I enjoyed the time we got to evaluate them.

It was then lunchtime. We had quite a bit of time, so I decided that I would go to the Medici Palace and check out that area. I have read a lot about the Medici, and the palace was mentioned quite a bit in my book about Michelangelo. It was one of the most influential palaces because of its architecture, which all later palaces in Florence copied. Additionally, it housed the family that acted as the guardians of the Republic of Florence and the Fathers of the Renaissance.

Most of the Medici Palace is now used as office space, but enough of it is open to get a good idea of the way that it was set up in earlier times. The courtyard is full of the crests of the family, and the garden is very nice. The garden is the one where Donatello’s David was commissioned to stand, and it was the place that Michelangelo saw it standing. The Medici Palace is also the place where Michelangelo got his start as a sculptor. I’m sure it has changed a lot, but it was nice to get a feel for the way that it used to be.

The one room that has not been changed is the chapel. There are some frescoes on the wall of the chapel that were commissioned by Cosimo (father of Lorenzo). They are very beautiful by Fra Angelico, who is the teacher of Boticelli. There are some portraits of people in the family in the frescos that were very amazing to see.

In the garden there was a sculpture museum with some sculptures from ancient Rome that I was able to look at. I enjoyed them quite a bit.

After the Medici chapel, I walked around the San Lorenzo market and bought some shirts and a tie for Jared for his birthday. It was nice to get something for him that was going to be useful, and he will really like them.

I was also finally able to find some post cards that show important buildings in Florence that I didn’t get good photos of, and that I wanted to show to others. I was very happy.

I met Jane and the rest of the group on the steps of the Duomo and we went to the art store to get some art supplies.

Of course I got home with little time to spare for dinner. Dinner was gnocchi, chicken, potatoes and vegetables, salad, fruit, cheese, fig cake.

We almost finished Dante after dinner, but Jeffrey decided to put it off for a little bit longer.

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