Sunday, July 11, 2010

10 Days in Italy: The Uffizi

I started writing about my Tuscany adventure, and here comes next chapter.
When I had finished my delicious lunch at Golden View Open Bar  , I headed out in the rain again, but quickly found shelter under the overpass on the bridge Ponte Vecchio.  From there, you can walk almost all the way to the Uffizi Gallery without being rained on.
I had called in a reservation for 3PM, so I just walked past the extremely long line of people waiting to get in.  (The estimated waiting time was set to 2 hours!).  
I sprinted up the broad staircase to the second floor, where the main collections are situated.  The gallery is shaped like a long, rectangular horse shoe, with a continuos hallway leading you to all the different rooms.
I won't tire you with everything, obviously, but, I did spend 4 hours in the Gallery, which for me is an extremely long time.  I usually get tired much before that.  Tired in my legs, of course, but mainly, tired in my head.  It's as if my brain's hard disc can't cope with too many impressions.
This time, though, I just kept going.  Somewhere in the middle, I had an iced tea on the roof terrace, with gorgeous views of the Palazzo Vecchio and the cathedral.  And, yes, it had finally stopped raining, so I even enjoyed some sun up there.
I'll show you only a few paintings.  

First:  Simone Martini's Annunciation from 1333.
It's an altar piece, showing the Virgin Mary receiving the angel, which comes to tell her that she will be the mother of Christ.  She is, which is very common, depicted with an opened book in her hand, as if she was just reading, alone in her room, and really had no clue about what was going to happen.  I love the way she looks apprehensive, turning slightly away from the angel, with an expression that says "No, I don't want to go through all this!  Not me, please!"
From the angels mouth, there are letters, sticking out in a relief, almost cartoon-like, forming the words: "Ave Gratia Plena Dominus Tecum" ("Greetings, most favoured one.  The Lord is with thee!"

I love this picture, by the monk Fra Filippo Lippi.  "Madonna with child and two angels" is painted around 1465, an early Renaissance picture.  The theme is very common, of course, but the friar has painted it very different from anything seen before!
The angel in the foreground has an unusual smile, almost mischievous, or maybe proud, as he get to lift up baby Jesus to his mother.  The baby looks so natural, like a nine-month-old with separation anxiety.
I stood there forever, in the gallery, gazing at this painting.  It's amazing.

(And, I don't pay too much attention to the stories surrounding the painter, who apparently left his order, to marry the woman he loved, a nun, who is said to be the model for this Madonna...  Supposedly a huge scandal in Florence!)

I could go on forever, but, I won't.  Just want to show you what is known as Botticelli's earliest painting: Fortitude.

It was his very first commission, and the picture was one of seven, picturing different Christian and wordly values.  They were hung on the walls of the Commercial Court House in Florence, and with this painting, Botticelli became famous. "Fortitude" represents the qualities inner strength, resilience and courage.
In the Uffizi Gallery, this painting is found in the last room you see before  you enter the big Botticelli room, with The Birth of Venus , Spring and many other highlights. Then, in the next room, there is Leonardo's Annunciation...  
Click on the links to see these pictures as well, and maybe I'll get back to posting from the Uffizi Gallery one of these days.  It's after all one of my favorite places in the world!


  1. A new award for your lovely blog! MG

  2. Thanks a lot, Maria Grazia! Hope you have a wonderful Italian Summer!

  3. Hello!
    I would suggest you new app for iPad and iPhone, called Uffizi Touch, that permits you to visit virtually, through very beautiful images in high resolution, the Uffizi Gallery and the Vasarian Corridor. Over than 1150 masterpeieces of art that you can view when, how and where you want. You can choose what kind of visit you want to do: by artist, by room, by work, by historical period.
    I think that it's very useful for all people who love Italy, Tuscan and art and for all people who want visit Florence.
    It's a fantastic app, because you can have with it the great masterpieces of art (Michelangelo, Giotto, Raffaello, Titianus, Leonardo, Caravaggio, ecc.) at your fingertip!And you can have always with you a little precious piece of Florence!
    Best regards!
    Maria Gangale


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