Travel Journal – Day #7

Hi!

Sorry I didn’t post last night – it was a super long day and I was exhausted!

I’m still in Florence, Italy!  We did a lot of walking, and we got another tour!

First, we went to the San Lorenzo cathedral, again, but this time we didn’t go inside.  In a large room in the cloisters, where the monks would have lived, there was the Medici Library, or bibliotheca.  It used to house the Medici’s collection of books.  The books included Greek and Roman works!  The books, nowadays, are no longer there, but it is still spectacular to see!

I know Leonardo da Vinci gets all of the credit for being a “Renaissance man,” but Michelangelo was a Renaissance man too!  He was not only an outstanding painter, sculptor, and poet, but he was also an architect!  He designed the whole library (except for the details in the windows).  He was in Rome at the time he designed the library for the Medici, so he had to share his ideas and drawings through letters.  Words don’t do the building justice, so I have to give you some pictures:

 

Next, we went to the Medici Chapel where many of the Medici Family is buried.  And guess what?  Michelangelo carved the statues for several tombs!  They were so amazing to see!  I love the way Michelangelo experiments with contortion rather than just carving simple positions.  His sculptures, when compared to other sculptures, are much more interesting, for people are nearly never in the perfect posing position.

 

After the chapels we went to the Bargello, which houses some famous sculptures, including Michelangelo’s Brutus, Donatello’s David, and Verrocchio’s David.

Michelangelo’s Brutus is still amazing, even though it is unfinished.  You can see the rough surface of the stone that is left by the chisel before the sanding process.  Even so, the bust appears finished in some ways.  Brutus is not a polished person, as a character, so the rough surface of the stone represents what is inside of him.

Donatello’s David is quite spectacular.  Even though he was roughly 100 years before Michelangelo, he sculpted with a fine hand.  His statue is very graceful!  And, unlike Michelangelo’s, Donatello’s David is a young boy.  Michelangelo’s David is a young man, strong and muscular.

Verrocchio’s David is similar to Donatello’s.  His statue also depicts a boy, but his appears even younger than Donatello’s!  The curly hair and youthful face makes you think “shepherd boy,” instead of “warrior.”  Many people think that he sculpted his favorite pupil, Leonardo da Vinci, as the face of David.

 

Finally, we went to the Uffizi Gallery.  Here is where we took our guided tour.  It was the best tour ever!  Our guide was very informative and she moved at the perfect pace!

At the Uffizi we saw Botticelli’s Spring and The Birth of Venus!

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This is “Spring.”
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This is “The Birth of Venus.”

Something funny is that The Birth of Venus is the wrong name.  It was actually called Venus’ Trip to Cyprus, but that didn’t fit.  Botticelli had a rough history.  He had beautiful paintings, until Savonarola came along.  Botticelli became a follower of the monk and even burned some of his paintings in the Bonfire of the Vanities!  Spring and The Birth of Venus were saved because the Medici family owned them.  After Savonarola, Botticelli never painted the same way again.  His pictures were much more depressing and sad, and Botticelli himself passed away as a poor man.  Fortunately, an association of Americans and British in the 1800s helped restore Botticelli’s name as one of the greatest Renaissance painters.

Also in the Uffizi, we saw some famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci!  We saw his Annunciation, his unfinished Adoration of the Magi, and the famous painting that helped people discover Leonardo’s artistic talent!  There is a story that his teacher, Verrocchio, was commissioned to paint a picture of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.  He had told his student, Leonardo da Vinci, to paint the angle that is to the far left.  According to legend, when Verocchio saw what the teenaged Leonardo had done, he never painted again.

The Uffizi tour was so much fun!  I’m so happy that we went.  If you go the Florence one day, make sure you see the Uffizi Gallery!  It is something you don’t want to miss!  They not only have Renaissance works, but also Greek and Roman sculptures completed before Christ!  The Medici collected these pieces because they wanted Florence to be the rebirth of Ancient Rome.  Don’t miss the Uffizi Gallery!

Thank you for reading!

The Director

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