Wednesday, June 8, 2011


We spent five hours at the Uffizi, a personal best for me. (Vicki has far more attention, stamina...). Most touristic authorities say 3 hours is the useful limit for museum visits, at least for ordinary mortals. Weeks of touring Italy, reading about the art and artists, watching art history DVDs, etc., have us poised and prepared for Florence. Besides, it's one thing to see your Cimabue in Arezzo, your Giotto in Assisi, or your Duccio in Siena, etc. It's quite another to see them all in one room, maybe even side-by-side. Toss in a Masaccio or Botticelli or Lippi or Rafael, and then you find yourself spending half an hour in a room and returning to it again. And again.

I did not take any photos of the most important paintings in the Uffizi. Just being there and standing right next to them was wonderful enough. Besides, the rooms were crowded, the lighting was less than optimal, and the best pieces all were behind glass. And there were frowny-faced guards everywhere: I did not want to risk getting kicked out nor having my Florence Card confiscated just as we were beginning to use it. So I'll post just a few of the masterpieces we liked best, grabbed off the web, and refer you to my special Uffizi collection, the items we liked best, via Google's Art Project (thanks, Jeremy) at
Of course, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, the Uffizi's emblem and
pretty much the emblem of the Renaissance

And his Primavera, an equally alluring, complicated and
controversial work

Giotto's 1302 Badia polyptych; among the late Medievals
was the KO for us; it's in the same room with major altar
pieces of the same age, by Cimabue, Duccio, and Giotto; but
in the smaller Badia you can see a real change...real faces
with real emotion, not just paintings of Byzantine mosaics

Anyhow, check out the rest if you wish, at Runs from Giotto to Titian, but only a dozen or so.

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