Friday, October 23, 2015

My Date with Sandro.

I had been there only five days earlier, but I needed to spend more time in his room, and this time I didn't want to share him with the crowds.

So, I had a plan. I'd go early in the morning, really early. The plan was to reach his room before anyone else did. An ambitious plan, I know, but it never hurts to try.

At 8AM, when the front door was opened, I snuck in, sprinted up all those stairs (there are a lot!) to the 2nd floor, and headed down the hall to the smallish room which temporarily bears his name, while they fix up his usual quarters. It is almost at the end of the hallway, so I passed a lot of rooms as I made a beeline for Sandro's, crossing my fingers that most people would not know about the room situation, thus buy me some time alone with him. Of course, it was to be expected that I was not the only one who knew, after all, we're talking Sandro, not Mr Anybody, and his room is the flagship of the Uffizi Gallery...

I passed cleaners mopping the floors and guards taking their seats, looking bored already.
And then, I was there, at his door, and, I could hardly believe it, but my plan had worked. There was nobody there. Nobody! At the door, the sour-looking guard was busy with her phone, and in the room I now entered, there was me, and there was Sandro. Sandro Botticelli's beautiful, beautiful paintings.

At first my eyes got drawn into the Birth of Venus. I stood in front of the large painting for the longest time, taking in the beauty, the symbols, the intriguing expressions. Then I headed over to the Allegory of Spring, this enigmatic painting, filled with classical gods and flowers. Not all his paintings are moved to this teporary room, and I missed several of them, but my all time favorites were there, his Madonna of the Magnificat and his Madonna of the Pomegranate. So beautiful. So incredible beautiful. In the first one, The virgin Mary is smiling, while writing a prayer, and in the second one, painted a few years later, she looks distressed and tired, offering her baby boy a pomegranate, a sign of  Christ's suffering, death and resurrection.

I kept gazing at these wonderful works of art. The lines, the gold that specs the hair, the colors, the harmony, and above all, the expressions. I could stand be there forever.

What is it with this painter?  How does he do it? How does he move me to tears every single time I see his work IRL? (like that time in the Sistine Chapel...) There is more than the excellence of a master painter, there is something undefinable which goes straight to my heart.

I actually stayed in his room for nearly an hour, but by then, people had begun to seep in, and I decided to leave him to them. I threw a last glance at the Madonna of the Pomegranate, the Birth of Venus, the Spring, the Adoration of the Magi, and all the rest, before I left, with the feeling I just walked out on a dear friend, someone I wouldn't see again for a long while.

Later, after visiting the rest of the gallery, I went back to his room, but now I couldn't even get in. there was a long line of people waiting in the hall, and the room was nearly bursting with people, most of them pressing around the Birth of Venus and Spring. I sent the Madonnas another quick goodbye glance before I finally left the Uffizi. I was sad to leave, but geekly happy I got to have my date with Sandro!

Pictures: 1:Detail from The Adoration of the Magi. Presumed self portrait by Sandro Botticelli. 2: Uffizi Gallery. 3: Uffizi Gallery, 2nd floor hallway. 4: The Birth of Venus. 5: Madonna of the Pomegranate. 6: Madonna of the Magnificat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No Enjoyment like Reading!

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.