On Thursday our class explored the world renowned Uffizi art gallery. This museum was established by the last heir to the Medici dynasty and was opned in 1765 to the public. Before that time the building served as the central offices for the administrators of Florence and stands between Palazzo Vecchio and the Arno river, which is just a short walk from our residence.
The class progressed through the musuem by examining works in chronological order and particularily focused on paintings of the Renaissance period. We began by examining three alter pieces depicting Madonna and child by the artists Cimabue, Giotto and Duccio. These three works signify the beginning of Renaissance or the proto-Renaissance period and contained elaborate gold and textile patterns.
As we journeyed further into the museum we began to encounter works of the early Renaissance period which was signified by the ability of the artist to imagine the painting from the perspective of the viewer. The class was particularily taken by the work of Botticelli, which includes his famous Birth of Venus and Primavera. We also spent time examining Fra Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and child that was possibly inspired by his own family.
Moving into the late renaissance period we encountered works byLeonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. These men were masters of the craft and were particularily adept in portraying realistic human figure and understanding how to accurately calculate perspective for the viewer. The class also examined famous post-renaissance works by artists such as Caravaggio that depicted famous stories from biblical narrative (The Sacrifice of Isaac) and Roman mythology (Medusa). After a quick lunch and capuccino on the rooftop cafe of the musuem the class was dismissed to enjoy the sunny afternoon. Some students remained in the musuem to view works by other artists such as Rembrandt, others went hiking to Palazzo Michelangelo, and some explored local markets and shopping districts. This was the most beautiful day in Florence yet and the class was eager to make the most of it!
In the evening the class reconviened to discuss our reactions to the Uffizi. We first channeled our creativitythrough skits that recreated revolutionary works of the Renaissance. From this lively study the class discussed the creative process and how this may have led to the evolution of artwork during the Renaissance period. Other topics discussed were the change of mediums from tempra to oil paint, the favorite and least favorite pieces seen that day and which artist had the greatest influence on Renaissance thought and the greatest influence on modern art.
The Uffizi was an incredible reflection on the evolution of creative thought and progression of works during Renaissance period. Although I am sure the class could have spent several days browsing the collections we were anxious to pack for our next destination, Venice!
Botticelli Birth of Venus
(image taken from www.wikipedia.com)
Blog entry by Maja Johnson and Avery Maijala