Sunday, February 15, 2009

Brunelleschi’s Dome Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Buona Festa di San Valentino! Instead of talking about something depressing, I thought I would share with you something impressive. The Chiesa di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Church of Saint Mary of the Flowers) is better known as Florence’s Duomo. In the Italian language, “duomo” does not mean ‘dome.’ It means ‘cathedral.’ Il Duomo is often the focal point of every Italian city. In this case, Florence’s Duomo is capped with a dome, probably the most famous one in Italy if not the world.

Near the Duomo is one of my favorite sculptures in Florence. He is a marble carving dated around 1830 by Luigi Pampaloni of the famous architect Filippo Brunelleschi. Normally, I am not drawn to statues. That must sound strange coming from a sculptor whose work is more realistic than not. But I think of statues as being different from sculpture somehow. Boh! Perhaps the interactive or site-specific pose of the seated architect looking up at his magnificent cupola makes me want to look as well.

But mainly, there is elegance in the simplicity of the forms. I like the man’s tights smoothing over the details in the well-defined legs and feet. I like the gentle sweeping folds of fabric and paper in contrast with angular fingers. I love the light-colored stone figure against a soft grey arch designed by Gaetano Baccani. Next to this, there is a second sculpture by the same artist of another famous architect Arnolfo di Cambio, but I am afraid that it is Brunelleschi’s marble that I admire so much.

Brunelleschi’s cupola is veramente magnifica. It is truly a landmark and can be discerned from almost anywhere in the valley of Florence and surrounding mountains. Believe it or not, I have yet to walk to the top. That probably falls under the “I live here. I can do it anytime and therefore, I have never done it.” I often postpone for perfect weather, but am too busy when that arrives. However, I rarely cease to admire this beautiful and striking architecture.

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