Saturday, October 15, 2011


Going through the Uffizi was dizzying. There were so many old masters to see and I was greedy to see them all, so tried to get through each and every one of the 45+ rooms.

It is not overstating things to say this is one of the most important collections of art in the world:  Leonardo Da Vinci, Durer, Boticelli, Michaelangelo and so many others.  (Funnily enough, we missed Caravaggio's because they were on loan to Canada).

Rosso Fiorentino - Musician Angel

Sculptures from the time of the Roman Empire.   Works of religious art through the centuries, which after awhile seem to blur.  Portraits of the Renaissance - famous patrons and beauties.  Later periods showing Henry the Eighth and his wives.

Familiar faces everywhere!  The portrait of the Musician Angel was hung high in a corner, jostling for attention.

One image that has stuck with me is the naked image of a dwarf and the expression on his face.  I listened in on an English tour where the guide was elaborating on the unique two-sided painting.  The mannerist work was produced to prove that painting could rival sculpture in depicting the true nature of its subject.  On one side, the dwarf is young, on the other, he is an old man.  The artist Bronzini made a strong case for his argument that painting could present the passage of time, where sculpture could not.

[The dwarf may have been a favourite of the Grand Duke but he was also a source of entertainment:
The second half of the sixteenth century seems to have been a particularly populated time for dwarves at the Medici court. Morgante’s case was no exception. Records testify that he was often mortified, and even had to fight, naked, with a monkey. Rosella Lorenzi]

I circled back when I'd realized I missed the room with the Rembrandts, and stood to admire the works of the Dutch master.  But this was after more than an hour and a half, and my brain and eyes were having a hard time digesting all the riches.

Rob and I thought we couldn't possibly take in any more, but on the way out we were captivated by a multimedia exhibition that brought to life how the Uffizi itself was built, block by block, starting in 1540, through the ingenious use of pulleys.  Projectors enlarged the images, and we were transported to a construction site in Renaissance Florence, listening to the banter of workmen and the creaking sounds of ropes straining under their heavy load.

If I can't go back in person soon, at least I can return for a virtual tour of the Uffizi


Giulia said...

A naked dwarf w/a monkey. Yep, all about the Uffizi & that is what I now have in my mind. Oops. I do love it, though I'm not a huge Florence fan. I like to hit the high spots & scram. But of course, this is a highlight. I usually stay in that neighborhood, too. Once I took a sister & her eyes widened as she saw everything that was in the gallery. Esp. the birth of Venus & the four seasons.

Kurt said...

We have several decent museums in the city where I live. I can handle about 2 1/2 hours of looking at art, then my brain is fried.