When I got up this morning I actually saw the sun and blue skies. I got us some pastries for breakfast, grabbed my telephoto lens, and we headed off to San Marco to get a taxi and head up to San Miniato. But by the time we got there it started raining hard again. This is now the fourth day of rain, mostly light drizzle. So we scrapped my plan for San Miniato, got a quick lunch, and headed back to the apartment.
I am reevaluating the situation now. I don’t want to stay home two days in a row, so I need to find something to do today. We will see.
Well it never really stopped raining so we decided to do something closer to home, the Accademia di Belle Arti. Here is their most prominent guest:
You are not supposed to take pictures in here, but the art police stepped out, and everyone else was taking pictures, so why not me. This museum is much smaller than the Uffizi (my little uffizi didn’t hurt as much afterward), but there was some beautiful art here also. I am beginning to start recognizing some of the characters without needing to read the descriptions. For example, see a man with a knife trying to kill a young boy and you are probably looking at Abraham and Isaac. Hopefully there is an angel nearby to stop his arm. See a man with arrows in him and it is sure to be Saint Sebastian. If you see one baby it is probably Jesus, and if there are two the second one is John the Baptist. John the Baptist is also often shown with his head cut off, but of course if it is a giant head then it is Goliath. Other bodiless heads are Medusa or Holofernes. I still get Transfigurations mixed up with Ascensions, but I can tell an Annunciation from an Assumption. The one that totally confounds me is St. Jerome. I can tell John the Baptist from his clothes, but St. Jerome is different in every picture. You would think that nine years at St. Jerome’s Catholic School would make this easier.
The other cool thing at the Academy are the unfinished sculptures of Michelangelo, called the Slaves. Anne didn’t think they looked unfinished, and even if they are they are still quite beautiful. Michelangelo always chiseled out the image front to back, so each of the statues appear to be emerging from the rock. It is also cool to see the rough chisel marks. Michelangelo said that the statue was put into the rock by god, and all he did was free it. I like that.
After seeing hundreds of art pieces I will mention two of my favorites that I never knew existed until I came to Italy: Pietro Perugino and Filippo Lippi. I would like to say that I can just look at a painting and tell you who the artist is, but that is certainly not the case. There are some clues. For example very detailed scenes in the background are a specially of Leonardo. Lippi’s work is so colorful and precise that at times it looks like it was airbrushed on. But more often than not my guess at the artist is wrong. But every once in a while I do get it right, so it gives me some encouragement. In the academy I went over to this painting and guessed right that it was Perugino. But these two (St. John the Baptist and Mary Magdelene) by Lippi blew me away.
So after visiting one of the great museums of the world I thought it appropriate that we go to one of the great modern cathedrals, the Hard Rock Cafe. Now I know Stevie Nicks shoes can’t match Michelangelo’s David, but I didn’t see David tossing me a burger. The food was way overpriced, but it was also pretty good. This glass of beer and wine cost me 20 €, but I will admit my Peroni Gran Reserva Red (that’s a 12 ounce beer on tap) was very good.