Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Florence Day 1.5: Uffizi Gallery & Pitti Palace

There is a fascinating hotel with two very large trees growing on the roof near the Arno River. I walked by it everyday heading toward the center of town.

The smartest thing I did before leaving the US was purchase my ticket to the Uffizi Gallery ahead of time. When I arrived on a Sunday at 1 pm, the line was for entry on Tuesday. I was only able to take one photograph inside the museum of Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River, a bridge I would traverse many times.

Observations from the Uffizi:

• Nearly every Christ child in the Lippi Room looks like an old man.

The Duke and Duchess of Urbino: where men are tan and women are WHITE.

The Birth of Venus is underwhelming as it is the dullest painting in the room. It's desaturated beyond any reproduction that ups the contrast to a pleasing color scheme (the image below is still more colorful). Visions of Orlan's plastic surgery performance project danced in my head. There was a tactile reproduction of it for the visually impaired; a small 1'x2' once white relief sculpture. The most touched area? Venus's belly.

• There are elements of Dali in Piero di Cosimo's Perseus Frees Andromeda, one of my favorite paintings I never knew about until this visit.

• I was somewhat fascinated to see that paintings were commissioned for bed headboards.

Venus of Urbino lived up to expectations. The tour guide in the room trilled the "r" in Urbino for what seems to be an extra ten seconds in his pronunciation.

• The Uffizi is far better of a museum to view artwork in than Venice's Accademia but it's still a little crude (e.g. the temperature of the rooms is highly erratic).

• Veronese is all round and voluptuous.

• The urge to straighten a Paris Bordoen painting ran very high.

• My other favorite painting? Bronzion's Portrait of Eleanor di Toledo with her son Giovanni de Medici.

• I lost my Whidbey Island rock that I have carried in my rain jacket since July 2008 somewhere in the cloakroom waiting area. I heard it fall out of my pocket but couldn't find it in the crowd.

I don't know if it was the wisest decision to follow up the Uffizi with the galleries in the Pitti Palace, but it was open until 6:50 pm and so I did. I instantly realized that I would need to return as the immensity of this location was too much to accomplish in one day.


• Every time the rooms would get interesting, they were blocked off. For instance, in the apartments, finally a room that resembled a bedroom appeared with furniture that looked like it belonged but the door was roped off prematurely. The carpet and the description sign were in that room so it was evident we could be too at one point in time but not today. The same with the third story "Modern" Art Gallery. Finally, art from the 20th century only to be blocked off at the entry.

• Oversaturation of artwork! The salon style bombardment was a bit too much 1/2 way through.

• I was a little disappointed to see room after room of "this once was the antechamber to..." with a token line-up of chairs and no other indication that people actually lived in that space. Biltmore Estate this was not.

Clouds of doom upon exiting the Pitti Palace:

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