I just returned from two weeks in Italy. On my vacations, I love mixing up my experiences. While I’m very much into physical activities (we did a lot of hiking, biking, tons of wandering and a tiny bit of kayaking) I also like to feed the mind. What better place than the cradle of the Renaissance?
In Florence, there are a lot of famous pieces by famous artists. Sometimes the subjects are biblical, sometimes mythical. The mix of the two is interesting, as in Primavera (Spring) by Botticelli. It was stunning in person. I still don’t get the Medici.
Sculpture is a bit more up my alley, and seeing the original David was mind-blowing. There are stories about why Michelangelo chose the perspectives he did (small head, giant right hand) and I’ll leave it to you to look those up but let’s just say the man knew what he was doing.
There are different arguments about whether David’s expression is apprehensive, determined or blank. I’ll leave you to look those up, as well. For a thought-provoking insight into why David defeated Goliath I’ll point you toward Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath, which is about why underdogs win. (Let’s just say life isn’t just about being big and strong.)
But art isn’t all about the past—it’s about the present and the future, too. We were very fortunate to attend the Biennale, an annual contemporary international art show that happened to be in Venice this year. One of my favorite pieces was this, called Facebook. Yes, it looks like Guernica. It’s a comment on social media. Contemporary art can be confusing and esoteric, but this one was on the money for me.
And I very much liked this now-permanent installation at the Arsanale docks in Venice. Love me some sculpture. Put your hands together for this one!
Art can also be found in nature. For example, in the placement of a town nestled in the mountain-side, seen from high-up on a mountain trail.
And what greater art can there be than in a perfectly prepared meal of grilled seafood? Especially when there’s octopus. Oh, the octopus!
Italy was a visual (and gastronomic) feast. I’m full (sono pieno.) For now (per ora). Ciao, Italia.
What are your favorite types of art?