(I know I might get a million eye rolls from the title of this post, but someone had to make the Lizzie McGuire reference eventually...)
Ciao tutti! Hey everyone!
Our adventures in Rome have come to an end and so has our time to in Firenze (Florence), where has the time gone?! While learning how to speak simple Italian phrases, drawing in galleries, and having extreme art history flash backs ( aka, having my ultimate nerd-out moments), I've come to realize something: on this trip I have experienced and seen things that, previously, I've only ever dreamed of.
Much to everyone's dismay, my dream before Italy wasn't to be mistaken for a Italian pop-star and be whisked away on the back of a Vespa by a dreamy Italian pop singer who, in the end, turns out to be a sleaze-ball, but allows me to learn more about myself and love. Okay... maybe that was a thought I entertained at some point... But in all seriousness (I promise I'm done making Lizzie McGuire references) my dream before Italy was to see some of the best art ever created.
Now, as an art major I may be a little bit biased in my views, but in my opinion the Italian Renaissance was one of the most influential moments in art, science, history, and western culture. The innovations created in architecture, painting, and sculpture have changed how we look and study various works in our world today. Having studied artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Bernini, Michelangelo, and Titian (and many more) from the Renaissance movement, I was elated to have the opportunity to see the paintings and sculptures that I had feverishly studied on flash cards in past semesters at Luther. I made a goal while in Rome that I would see my favorite sculpture before the trip was over.
My love for art history began in my AP European history class. We were studying the Renaissance and looking at sculptures on the overhead projector, while my teacher lectured on important artists and patrons of the time. My teacher flipped the overhead sheet and a photo of Michelangelo's Pietá illuminated the screen.
I was in awe of the beautiful marble sculpture and was hooked on learning more about art and it's impact on history from that day on. In that moment I also made it a goal to someday see that sculpture in real life. Granted, I always imagined that my goal would be reached when I was fabulously old and grey, but our trip to the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica, where the Pietá resides, has helped me reach my goal (and I'm not even close to being old and grey yet!).
When stepping into the central corridor of St. Peter's, one's breath is taken away by the frontal view of the magnificent St. Peter's Baldachin created by Bernini in 1623- 34, as well as the gilded ceilings adorned with frescos, mosaics, and exquisite marble sculptures. The center piece of the Basilica, the Baldachin, was created as a marker for the tomb of St. Peter and was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII. Below the marker is the tomb of St. Peter, gilded with gold and covered with gorgeous decorations of Loral leaves and other Renaissance patterns. Although the initial view of the corridor, Baldachin, and altar of the basilica is grandiose, and almost even overwhelming at certain moments, the slight view to the right of the main doors is truly, in my opinion, the most breath taking view of them all.
Tucked away in a side altar, behind a wall of bullet proof glass, is Michelangelo's Pietá. Created in 1498- 99 by a young Michelangelo (he was about 23 at the time). The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary as she cradles her dead son, Jesus, moments after his crucifixion. Mary serves as a solid base, the proportions of her legs seem larger than life, as her lap holds the full upper body of a lifeless Christ. From the expressions of anguish and grief in each figures face, to the exquisitely rendered drapery around Mary's torso, knees, and legs, I was in awe of this masterpiece. Standing in front of the sculpture, for a dorky art major, was better than Disney world or anything I've ever experienced before (even better than the 2 cups of gelato I had that day).
I am so thankful to be a part of this program and so happy to be seeing the artworks and sites that I've seen so far. Florence has been so amazingly beautiful and I can't wait to see what Venice has in store for our group! Thanks again to everyone who has been reading our posts and following our blogs! We hope to post some pictures of the drawings we've been creating soon. So keep an eye out for our next post!
Ciao! Till next time!