Friday, August 27, 2010


This is the place that is famous for Michelangelo's statue of David.  It is impressive, alright.  I don't think the hands look too big.

The hall leading to David has a large (huge) Annunciation on the wall.  The wall plaque describes how it shows the collected influences of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.  It is very well painted, I must say.  This one shows God at the top, a lot of other characters, and the holy spirit sending a golden ray straight to Mary's head.  Gabriel looks like he is raising a finger in admonition to her.  She is pointing to herself with a coy gesture that says "Who, me?"  God's hair is standing on end.

I am reminded of two Annunciations at Santa Maria Novella.  In one of them she is holding up both hands in the kind of gesture of surprise you would expect from a really neat Christmas present.  In the other, she looks already 5 months pregnant.

In the picture gallery at the entrance to the Accademia, that most people hurry through, where the attendants spend most of their time yelling "No pictures!" there are a pair of paintings by Fillipino Lippi, that I got a fairly fuzzy picture of.

These are John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene.  Most of Filippino Lippi's pictures are fairly bright and cheerful, I think, although I will have to look at more of them in the Uffizi.  But these are definitely done in shades of brown, except for John's cloak.  They both look old, ragged, tired, and wondering what it was that happened earlier in their lives and what it all amounted to.  Maybe next time I can get the faces in better focus.

There is quite a collection of 13th century altarpieces, the ones with lots of gold background.  I particularly like this Madonna and Child, in which I think the artist has anticipated the cubist form about 650 years before Picasso.  The mother and especially the child look a lot happier than they do in most images of this era, when everyone looked deadly serious.

There is an upper floor to the Accademia where not many people go.  It is quite a climb, but all along the way are Greek icons.  I'll need to learn more about them.  They are very interesting, but not at all realistic, or I suppose if I knew more about art criticism I would say the style is not realism.  I read in the section of Vasari's work (Lives of the Artists, written in 1570 or so), in discussing the work of Cimabue, who started the rise of Florentine art -- that when Cimabue started, the government had brought in Greeks to restart art in Florence, but their style was just what they had learned from their masters, nothing new.  Apparently the urge toward realism grew as a reaction to that, and the more recent trend to abstraction grew as a reaction to that.  Anyway, I don't know whether these Greek icons are the style of 1200, or whether they are 20th century, or whether they evolved over the years.  Something else to find out about.

But up above, there are a couple of galleries of old things like this Annunciation, from 1260 or so.

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