Sunday, June 26, 2011


More Michelangelo

We slept in again this morning, as we had no reservations to keep, and didn't get out the door until a little before noon. It's interesting to step out the door onto via Calzaiuoli. It's almost like trying to get onto a freeway or step into a rushing river. Immediately you are immersed in the energy of Florence's busiest street, with all kinds of people passing on their way to somewhere. We hooked a right onto Calzaiuoli and then a left toward the east portion of Florence. Without a map, we found the Bargello, though it took us a trip around the small museum to find the entrance. Though the Bargello is one of Florence's tinier and lesser known museums, it houses a concentrated yet strong set of works. The building itself is part of the experience, as its frescoed, vaulted ceilings and crest-covered rock walls remind one a bit of a castle. It has beautiful high rooms with patterned windows that make interesting light patterns on the marble floor, and walkways which open onto the main courtyard. The most notable work housed here is Donatello's David, which marked the introduction of the male nude into the renaissance, though to be honest, is outperformed by other pieces in the gallery. One in particular I've always loved is Giambologna's Oceano, whom I had the pleasure of drawing again, and gave Erik a spontaneous yet successful drawing lesson on. It seemed that many others had the same idea, as there were students all throughout the museum sketching.
Once again, Piazza Della Signoria was our place to eat lunch. We resumed our spot from the previous day and were just opening our package of salami when we noticed a camera crew making their way through the crowd, with the cast of Jersey Shore safely at the center. I've never watched the show nor had the desire to, but it was a funny and rather interesting coincidence. We got a couple photos as best we could.
After enjoying the familiar guitar music and the atmosphere of the piazza, we headed northeast again for a quick stop at the Internet point, in order to read reviews and decide on either the Galileo museum or Michelangelo's house museum. Not only was the Casa Buonarroti less than five minutes away, but less expensive and better reviewed. Our choice was obvious, and it proved to be a great one. This museum is quiet and small, but packed with enjoyable artifacts, art inspired by, and original works from Michelangelo himself. The rooms which stood out to me the most were those containing his rough ink sketches. Ironically he wanted to burn these, as he was such a perfectionist, he did not want people to see the workings of his brain, and instead wished to seem perfect. In fact, I feel more of a presence of his very hand in these sketches, moreso than the David or Pieta. The rooms also contained original sketches from Leonardo Da Vinci (rather pathetic ones to be honest, some were literally a half inch square) and others. We headed upstairs, where we saw his diplomas, miniature models he had done in preparation for his main pieces, and a room full of Baroque-era paintings illustrating his life. The only complaint I can say about this museum is that the docents were rather overbearing and started following us around because the museum was closing in fifteen minutes.
After an afternoon of quiet museums, we returned to the crowded and noisy Piazza for another drawing lesson. We spent nearly two hours sitting on the steps of the town hall, me doing my best to teach Erik the fundamentals of drawing the figure. What better figure to instruct with than the David (or rather its copy)? Despite the noise and crowds due to a very strange and creepy mime whom the tourists found very amusing (he was just obnoxious), and incessant hassling from the cup-shaking gypsies, a rather impressive drawing of David was born. Even with just a few sessions of drawing practice, I've seen a great improvement in his work. He's a good padawan. :) I inked and washed a couple of my previous drawings, got an offer from a random Italian for my drawing of Saint Teresa's Ecstasy which I kindly refused, then stopped for dinner on the opposite side of the Piazza. The Jersey Shore crew made another appearance, but overall we enjoyed our meal- me, fillet, and Erik, salmon with the same sauce- in peace.
We grabbed gelato and made another stop at the organ concert. The experience is both impressive and slightly unsettling, as the church is lit sparsely and dramatically, combined with the ominous yet intricate notes of the organ which completely immerse you in the reverberation of sound. A street performer dressed like Charlie Chaplin caught our attention momentarily before we headed in for the night. There is no place like Firenze.

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