Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wild ride… e La cittá di acqua!

I know, I am getting really bad at this whole updating thing.

SATURDAY (Feb 25th) UPDATE – We ended up going to Twice and Babylon which was an AWESOME club, they played the most random music and we danced until our feet hurt. Haven’t had that much fun in a while…

The unfortunate thing is that I don’t have much to talk about from last week except my weekend in Venice.

Last week we visited St. Appollonia which was a convent for an order of Benedictine nuns in a cloister. In the refectory of this cloister is a fresco of the Last Supper (a tradition in Florentine convents and monasteries since the gothic period) by Andrea Castagno. It is a really beautiful painting and a pretty important painting. We then talked about Dominico Veneziano, another important painter, who according to Vasari brought oil painting to Florence from Venice.

We then went to SS. Annunziata which is a church for the Servites of Mary. In the church there is a miraculous image of the Madonna that is said to have been painted by an angel. There is also a gorgeous tabernacle designed by Michelozzo in the church, and the dome was designed by Michelozzo as well. It’s a pretty important place spiritually, and many people come to the church for devotional purposes from all over the world. It was also the church where Piero Medici had his apartment.

The next day we went to Santa Maria Novella which is a Dominican church  and interestingly enough, the second part of it’s façade was designed by Leone Battiste Alberti who was an extremely important figure in Renaissance architecture and painting as well as a revered scholar. Brunelleschi designed the pulpit in the church which is round and gilded. It portrays stories of the Virgin. Giorgio Vasari redesigned the interior the church in the  when the Council of Trent ordered all the churches to be simplified and give the chapels/niches a more consistent look. Masaccio's Trinity (1427) is also in the church, and it is regarded as one of the most important paintings following Brunelleschi’s theories of linear perspective. The proportions and the perspective is said to be perfect in this painting. There are two other master works in this church, Giotto’s crucifix and Brunelleschi’s crucifix, the first is a great gothic work from the 1290’s that is a very beautiful representation of the Christ’s crucifixion and the second is a crucifix that Vasari mentions in the life of Donatello. It is a really graceful depiction of Christ which one would expect of Brunelleschi.

The frescos behind the altar of Santa Maria Novella are also by a notable artist who becomes the master of Michelangelo, Dominico Ghirlandaio. The frescos are gorgeous and show an amazingly accurate view of Florence and Florentine life in the 15th century. Savonarola hated them, along with the chapel that was frescoed by Filipino Lippi.

The next day I had my report on Antonio Pollaiolo at St. Mineato which was built in 1070. It is a beautiful church built up on a hill overlooking the historical center of Florence. For an amazing view, go there. Afterwards I had drawing class and went home to get ready for Venice.

Venice was amazing to say the least, we arrived in the morning by train and because Venice is a city built in the middle of a lagoon, the train enters Venice over the water. Once we pulled into the station we hopped off with our bags and followed Jodie out of the station to see a stunning array of multicolored buildings, tons of people a the Grand Canal right in front of us. Venice being a city of water also means that streets are strictly for walking, there are no cars, and so we hopped onto the private boat (the equivalent of a charter bus) and headed to the island of Murano for a glass blowing demonstration, lunch, and exploration. The glassblowing was exquisite and the artistry and skill of the guys who blow glass is un believable. Unfortunately hand blown glass is a dying art because it takes so long to become a certified artist and young people aren’t apprenticing anymore.


After the demonstration we went to the showroom and gift shop and although many of the things were ridiculously expensive, they were breath taking as well and all made in the workshop. We walked around the island for a bit picking up gifts for people and then we were back on the boat off to check into the hotel, and then off to San Marco Basilica…




WHICH WAS AMAZING! I didn’t think that I would be blown away by anything else after seeing so many amazing examples of architecture but when we walked into the square and I saw the church I was literally wowed. The square itself is quite breathtaking but the church is absolutely magnificent.

Before entering the church we looked at the clock tower, the bell tower, and the office buildings built for the dogia and other city officials. I can’t even begin to describe the inside of the church. It was an explosion of gold and the palla d’oro is literally the most opulent thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Unfortunately they don’t allow photos in the basilica. But I did get a few snapshots from the balcony of the church with my phone.

After the basilica we went in Palazzo Ducale, the living quarters of the Duke. It was also amazing, and the architecture was just so grandiose and ornate, I will probably remember that place forever. When we left the church of a few of us went to a mask shop and then wondered around the city on the way back to the hotel for dinner.


Saturday we got up early to go to Santa Maria dei Frari, a Franciscan church with amazing works by Titian and Bellini and some amazing sculpted wall tombs. We then went to Scuola San Rocco where the whole place is covered in paintings that are just absolutely amazing, and they were all done by one man, his sons, and his daughter.

The rest of the day was free so we wondered around the city until about 1:30 and then I went to get Frittura Mista (a mixed assortment of fried seafood) at a restaurant near L’Accademia. It was delicious and I even got to try a pasta dish that is made with cuttle fish and squid ink. Then at 3 I went to the Galleria Dell’accademia for an optional tour with Prof. Marrioti and that was pretty awesome as well. We saw a lot of works by the Bellini family. Then I went back to the hotel and took a nap because I was exhausted.

Sunday we had an optional waking tour which took us to a bunch of awesome churches and ended close by the Jewish Ghetto. I, along with a few others, ventured to the ghetto and walked around eventually going to a small museum that was really informative about the history of the Jewish community in Venice from the gothic era all the way to post WW2. On the way back to our side of town we stopped for lunch and then I split up with them to go buy my venetian mask, which is beautiful might I add. I also brought a gifts for my parents and my grandmother. Then I booked it to the Guggenheim to check it out before we returned to Florence.

The Peggy Guggenheim collection was pretty amazing, and it’s crazy to think that almost all the art there she owned personally, much of which was made specifically for her because she was great friends with many of the artists. I could just imagine her having a martini with Jackson Pollock and his older brother as they drank whiskey on the rocks. And so ended my trip to Venice, needless to say there was so much more that I wanted to do but I was pretty glad to be returning home.

Here are the rest of the photos from my trip (all from my camera phone!)

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