Laokoon and his sons; roman copy of greek original; Galleria degli Uffizi; Florence
Ever since I’ve seen an illustration on an ancient book cover at age 9 I’ve been totally in love with the Laokoon group. Discovered by a farmer in his field the battered sculpture who missed a few vital pieces was restored by Michelangelo himself. Years later the missing pieces were found on the very same field and set into place so the sculpture could once more be seen in all it’s beauty.
There is something almost vibrant about the three men fighting for their lives and succumbing to the mounting despair. One can almost feel the inhuman strenght in this unequal fight, the snakes gripping their bodies tight and tighter to the point of breaking. At the same time the monstrous reptile links the father and his sons together even if they cannot help one another out of their deadly grasp.
A truly magnificent masterpiece and definitely a must-see.
Mattino Di Primavera; Arrigo Minerbi; Copy in the Palazzo Pitti; Florence
Mirrors and female nudes go together so well that a simple sketch like that cannot describe the beauty I saw…
Minerbi’s original can be seen at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome… which is currently point number one on my “To See-List”.
Venus Italica; Antonio Canova, Marble Statue; Palazzo Pitti; Florence
Canova is probably best known for his marble statue “Armor and Psyche” which is exhibited at the Louvre in Paris. "Venus Italica" is crafted from beautifully pure white marble and could be described as perfect… from one angle at least. Regarded from the front she is the picture of chaste beauty, from every other direction her pose seems forced and her body proportions are contorted agains every rule of nature.
Personally she reminds me of my sister so I simply had to make a sketch since I was so far from home that time…
Doryphoros; roman copy; Galleria degli Uffizi; Florence
I’ve learned about this fine example of a greek statue early in my art history education and it really stuck. You see, Doryphoros- the spear carrier- is the earliest known statue sporting the universally known “contra post”. Prior to this stance statues were, well, STATIC. No movement, no dynamics, no NOTHING. But as we see here Doryphoros is everything BUT static since his whole weigth is supported by one foot while the other is relaxed. The position of the legs makes the hips tilt in direction of the relaxed leg which in turn make the tilt of the shoulders the exact opposite. Almost no sculpture of any kind AFTER the Doryphoros is reflecting this revolutional novelty.
Well, as it is the norm in Italy I had to withstand an especially pedantic museum attendant. Since it took me a few minutes to complete my sketch I sat down on a bench provided by the museum WHICH WAS FOR SITTING DOWN. And it IS allowed to make replicas for personal artistic education so I don’t understand why this particular lady seemed to burn holes into me with her eyes alone since I refused to budge.
Amor and Psyche; roman Original; Galleria degli Uffizi; Florence
I can still fully remember the first time I heard the story of Amor and Psyche and I am positive that I’ll never forget it (at least the version I’m accustumed to).
The Princess Psyche was one of the most beautiful women of Cyprus and her admirers wen out of their way with their praise and thus angered the godess of love and beauty herself, Aphrodite. In her rage she sent her son Amor to stuck Psyche with his arrow so she’d fall in love with the first beggar crossing her path. But upon seeing her for the first time the flustered Cupid nicked his own skin with the arrow by accident and fell in love with her himself. Unwilling to share his beloved with anyone else he arranged for her to be sacrficed to a supposedly angered sea god and bribed the nothern wind Cephyr to carry her away on his invisible wings right to Amor’s personal paradise on a hidden island. To cut a long story short, Psyche screwed up and had to go through hell- quite literally- to get her lover back.
Personally I posess a very beautiful illustrated book dating back to 1882 with the whole story written down. I found it buried under a pile of rubbish romantic novels from the sixties on a garage sale…
Marble Watchdog; unknown (at least to me) Entrance of the Galleria degli Uffizi; Florence
There are two rather massive marble watchdogs guarding the entrance to the upper floor of the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and THEY ARE GORGEOUS! Barely noticed because they are situated just in front of the guy contolling the tickets they hradly get the attention they should get… well, in my opinion. So I stepped out of the sluggishly moving queue and took my time sketching the cute little doggie closest to me. The curious thing is that -as the sketch on my paper progressed- the queue slowed down even more and a considerable number of people took a lot of pictures. Some nice ladies even attempted a little chat with me as soon as we settled with French as our language in common. :3
Galleria degli Uffizi: a museum to be definitely recommended!
Attis/Amor Donatello; Palazzo Barghello; Florence
Merkur; Jean Bologna alias Giambologna; Bronze Statue; Palazzo Barghello; Florence
"Jean de Boulogne" was born and raised in Flandern, today part of the french sovereign territory. You might know him under his italian name Giambolognia, the name which made him unversally known for his breathtakingly beautiful statues in both marble and bronce. Working in Florence in the times where renaissance beauty was slowly replaces by "modern" Maneirism standards. This period altered the florentine art to gradually change their conception of the human body to be best portraied in amplified curves, sensual nudeness and exagerated gestures. Not yet showing the copulent frame of a baroque hero Giambologna’s Merkur is already a little softer around the middle than the average greek athlete. That and the contorted posture shows the beginning of baroque style in Italy. AND to be honest, his backside is just delectable…
David; Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi; Palazzo di Bargello; Florence
Donatello REALLY surpassed himself with this universally known bronze statue and my crappy sketch cannot even grasp half of the impression it makes. What makes the statue so unique for its date of origin (approx. 1430 in Florence) was it being the first “renaissance nude” as well as the very FIRST nude since the greek and roman antique. Initially concipated as THE headpiece for the garden of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi it was displayed backed by the gardens wall so it couldn’t even be admired from all sides- the way it was supposed to be. Today it is situated in the conference hall of the Palazzo on the second floor, (encircled by other masterpieces of the renaissance artist) “David” dominates the whole- rather sizable- room even though it is positioned closer to the corner.
The perspective might not be the best but I was completely CAPTURED by the sensual curve of his frame and the elaborate details on Goliath’s helmet as well as the meandering decoration of David’s armor.
Today I’ve been tread on, bitten, scratched, kicked and hit for doing my very best with all good intentions but that’s okay. The kids are going through a tough phase, it’ll pass… just like my little sejour here in Italy, thank GOD for small mercies. Why is it that only the kids I am PAID to look after are HORRIBLE to me, any other children I meet ALWAYS immediately are nice to me?
On the upside I’ve made several canine friends, one of which has taken a liking to me even though she’s from a kennel and very easily frightened. Earning her trust makes me feel a lot less of a sorry excuse for a social being.
LOOK AT THAT, MY SISTER LET ME MAKE A TATTOO FOR HER!!!
She has been bugging me for a tattoo since forever but I am never satisfied enough with my cartoon-characters but I found this recipe on tumblr to make temporary body art. Turns out it is both better than I thought it would but nowhere near the promised two weeks of durability…. well, at least it is harmless to her.
But now I am hoked and I wanna do MORE body art!!! Luckily my sister jumped on the train and has a whole lot of ideas in petto.
Who would have thought that those shitty steriotypes about Italy are 100% TRUE??? It’s been six days and I’ve eaten pasta TWICE DAILY! There are exactly 32 mosquito bites covering my poor but apparently quite delicious body, one of which I am fairly sure must have been caused by THIS MOTHERFUCKER HERE.
Gathering my courage I talked to the host mum who took a peek at my PRO/CONTRA list… which was fairly out of balance and rather long. After a uncomfy silence of several seconds she announced that she’s gonna change half of it and that I can go home for a few days so they can fix it under the condition that I’ll come back for the weeks in which they really need a professional au pair girl (they wouldn’t be able to find another that fast and I am quite good).
SO I RAN HOME SO FAST, YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE IT o.O
Hugging my mum made everything better and I am still looking forward to actually SEE Florence… which was kind of the main reason why I wanted this job.
John Keats' handwritten poem “Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes” written at Keswick on 28 June 1818 in a letter to George and Georgiana Keats. The poem reads:
Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes And sweet is the voice in its greeting. When adieux have grown old and goodbyes Fade away when old time is retreating.
Warm the nerve of a welcoming hand and earnest a kiss on the brow, When we meet over the sea and o’er land Where furrows are new to the plough.