Florence – The Home of The Renaissance
Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Raphael, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello, most will have heard of some if not all of these names. All of them geniuses, and still now their work amazes with their mastery and forward thinking, masters of the renaissance.
Florence was a real spark during the time of the Italian Renaissance a city of great wealth and prosperity. The Medici family with their banking empire and the wealthy merchants guilds bankrolling magnificent feats of architecture, engineering and incredible works of art. Even investing in the tutorage of young artists of the time such as Michelangelo when he was still just a teenager.
All of this makes Florence an incredible city to visit today, so much of what was created during this period, in this city, is still right there…and it is just awesome!
The Uffizi Gallery housed in a Medici built palace, has the greatest collection of paintings from this period with works by every major artist of the time. It is amongst the finest galleries in the world.
My favourite museum in Florence is the Grande Museo del Duomo. Full of amazing sculptures by some of the true legends of the renaissance. Inside you will find Michelangelo’s La Pieta, also known as the Florentine Pieta or The Deposition. Michelangelo started this sculpture at the age of 72 and was intended to decorate his own tomb. After working on it for 8 years, frustrated with the quality of the marble, Michelangelo lashed out and tried to smash the piece damaging it. However it was acquired by Francesco Bandini who hired an apprentice sculptor to restore the work to its present state. Looking carefully at it you can see where it was cracked and damaged. The statue is thought to show the body of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, The Virgin Mary and Nicodemus, it is thought that the face of Nicodemus, the hooded male in the background, is a self portrait of Michelangelo. I love these kind of stories, it really brings everything to life. There is also an exhibition here on the construction of the cathedral which I found really interesting given when it was built and the technology available.
The museum also houses numerous works by Donatello, the most famous being this statue of Mary Magdalene sculpted from wood 1453-1455. So haunting, noted for its realism, I was amazed that it was sculpted from wood nearly 600 years ago and was still in this condition.
This city really is full of masterpieces, works of art which have been elevated to a mythical status, known throughout the world, single pieces of art people will specifically make the journey for. The jewel in the crown undoubtedly is found at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Approaching Michelangelo’s David is such a great experience, so often I’ve found occasions like this a slight anti climax, it is not the case here. The huge, light and airy gallery is perfect, there are not the crowds that engulf the Mona Lisa for example here, you can really enjoy the experience.
Florence is an amazing city, it is an art gallery, an open air museum, a work of art in it’s own right and amongst all of this you can lay your own eyes on some of history’s finest treasures, an unbelievable experience.
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Thomas Widdows – My Travel Mission