Friday, September 17, 2010

Galleria degli Uffizi

Out of all the amazing artwork showcased at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, a small little portrait I'd never seen by an artist I'd never heard of was my favorite piece.

I stared at this piece as long as the circulating crowd would let me. It's a portrait of Sir Richard Southwell painted in 1563 by Hans Holbein the younger.

What's amazing to me about this portrait is how realistic it is. A lot of renaissance paintings contain idealized figures and faces. I love Boticelli, and was totally estactic to see his paintings up close, but I never look at his painting and think; that scene could be real, those people could be real. All his figures look strikingly similar anyway. His work has those trademark angelic faces.

What's remarkable to me, is that I literally had to get my nose up to the glass before I could see brush marks. Before I could even tell it was a painting and not a photograph applied to wood. This photo betrays the sheen of the oil paint, (you can see it in the black robe in the lower left corner) but it makes it look washed out, when in reality it is still a very vibrant portrait. The translucency of the skin and of the hands and face is astonishing. He looks alive. He looks like he could move any second. He looks like someone I could meet on the street.

Normally my stand by philosophy is let photographs look like photographs and let paintings look like paintings. But, I couldn't help but be stunned by such a photo-realistic painting completed at a time of idealized figures and faces, and 450 years ago at that.

I also was reacquainted with and newly impressed with this guy.

Fillipino Lippi.

Actually nearly all the religious painting from the renaissance are way more impressive in person. Namely because most of them are HUGE. Like the size of a large wall. This is obvious, as they were orginally intended to go inside HUGE gothic churches. But it's easy to forget when you've spent your whole life looking at tiny thumbnails in history books.

Contrariwise, there were a few itsy bitsy gems that impressed because of their detail and tiny size.

This one, for example, by Piero di Cosimo, couldn't have been any larger than the monitor I'm looking at now. Although the level of detail is incredible.

Truly a once in a lifetime experience. I'm jealous of those who live near enough to go as often as they wish. I am so amazed with the creativity of the human spirit, and I marvel at how much these painters could accomplish in their lifetimes. Such beauty!

Friday, September 3, 2010


I decided I didn't like the look of my messenger bags as well as I used to.
I changed them up with some vintage/decorative fabric.