Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Spending the day with an astonishing old friend

The Galleria della Uffizi is one of the world's more amazing art museums.  I've visited it enough times that each trip feels like spending an afternoon with an old friend, a friend so much more knowledgeable and wiser than I am that I can only listen with rapt attention to all it has to say.

Today, I again walked through all of the galleries, and I again found myself repeatedly overwhelmed with emotion and thoughtfulness at the art I saw.  With paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries and statuary primarily from older times, the Uffizi overwhelms you with beauty wherever you look.

One of the greatest gifts of this gallery is that it lets you see moments in the history of art when someone so obviously better than their contemporaries suddenly bursts onto the scene and throws down the gauntlet, challenging everyone to pick up their games.

One of my favorite examples of just this sort of leap forward in art is the work of Botticelli, whose work regularly makes my heart ache.  Yes, I'm enough of a traditionalist that every single time I round the corner and see his Birth of Venus, it takes away my breath.

Click an image to see a larger version.

It's not like he has only one incredible piece, either; his body of work is astounding.  Consider, for example, one you may not know:  The Columny of Apelles:

It's more amazing in person.

And then there's the Michelangelo, which fairly leaps off the canvas.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that if you want to study Western European art or simply love the subject, you need to visit the Uffizi.

This old friend once again filled my heart to overflowing and sent me away happy and humbled.

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