Sunday, June 6, 2010
There are so many places to go to in Florence. There are so many places I still haven't seen. Just as in reading the history of Florence, you become more and more aware that you are scratching the surface, it is the same with seeing places around the city.
Here is a rundown of some of the places we've been to after returning from Siena and then after our trip to Rome:
May 18th- Brancacci Chapel and Santa Maria Novella- Masaccio
We went to these places specifically to see the work of Masaccio. As with most churches, there is a wide sweep of work in most places, from peeks of remnants of frescoes from the 1300's up to paintings from the 18th century. Everyone is free to explore, but what I'm going to talk about in each place is pretty focused (as much as possible) on a chronological movement through time. Of course trips to Rome and Venice disrupt this a bit, but that's how it is. I still have not been in the actual museum, that is the rest of the grounds besides the church, of Santa Maria Novella, that includes the Spanish chapel. Someday.
May 19th- Santa Maria del Fiore and the Cupola - Brunelleschi
Not in this order. The stairs to the cupola of the Duomo and the lantern on top, where you can look out, open at 8:30, it is best to be there shortly after. If you wait until 10 or 11, chances are you will see a massive line. This is the first time I've had a student start to go up and then... have to go back down. She made it up to the overlook down into the crossing, where you are right next to Vasari's painting inside the dome. Then when we started going up from there, where you are actually going up between the two walls of the cupola, she immediately knew she had to go back down. Excellent timing, actually, because that is where those coming back down split off on their own route going back down. I could stay up on top for hours. I think the students largely have a harder time just looking. After ten days of showers, clouds, bits of sun here and there, this was our first day of just beautiful weather for the whole day in Florence. After a break we took the #7 bus up to Fiesole, started the walk down and drew from an overlook over Florence. When we were through, we walked the rest of the way down into the city.
May 24th- Day off.
After being in Rome for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this was a day to take it easy. OK, I did a bunch of errands and catching up on the accounting and writing here and there. But it also involved getting extra sleep.
May 25th- Santa Trinita - Ghirlandaio
This small church has always been a favorite of mine. For years this place has been a small retreat from the bustle and traffic noise outside. The most people I have ever seen in here, besides myself and my students, have numbered three, maybe five. Not this time. Just after arriving, we were joined by four other groups. I especially go there to see the Sassetti Chapel with its fresco paintings with Francesco Sassetti and members of his family, joined by Lorenzo de Medici and members of his family, present at the Confirmation of the order and the resurrection of a child by Francis after his death. It is important to see how Ghirlandaio refers to, makes use of and builds on painters of the past such as Giotto, Masaccio and Hugo van der Goes.