Sunday, January 27, 2008

Il Pane Degli Angeli Exhibit Uffizi Gallery

Occasionally, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy, will put on a temporary exhibit (in this case with free admission) of artworks in their collexion that are not normally on display. These are not necessarily lesser works, only works they cannot fit into their current spaces. This exhibit is titled “Il Pane Degli Angeli” or The Bread of Angels.

I met my friend Lisa outside the famous gallery and we also saw our friend Harry there. I liked several of the paintings in this fairly small exhibit and made some brief sketches, an image of which I include here.

The composition on the left is from an olio su tela (oil on canvas) by Pietro Liberi (Padova 1614-Venezia 1687). She is called “Annunciazione” and was painted around 1670. I like the subtle, not quite vertical sweeping curve of the figure on the lower left. And how the angel above’s curling form lead the eye back into the lower figure. There is a wonderful diagonal that gives movement and interest with a beautiful balance of light and dark.

The sketch on the right was done from another, smaller painting with the same title. This artist is Livio Mehus (Oudenaarde 1627-Firenze 1691). It was very interesting to see the same subject handled in similar, yet different ways. It is a good reminder that although artists may influence one another (I do not know if these artists knew each other or not because I forgot to read the background information on the wall), each has his own voice.

If you find yourself in Firenze subito, go see this exhibit. She ends on 3 Febbraio.


Rodney said...

ok i'm going to open a can of worms: it seems interesting to me that painters and sculptors from the beginning of artistic time have put wings on angels. Heres the rub: Angels do not have wings. no where in the bible does it say anything about angels having wings. when angels appear to man they are always in the form of man himself. and im sure the reason for it is they dont want to scare the dickens out of man when they appear to him. i have an angel and i have never seen wings. we all have an angel looking out for us...Rodney

Kelly Borsheim said...

Hi Rodney,
No can of worms. But one must know that long ago, the audiences were different. Today, we have lost much of our ability to read a painting. Most people from other times knew stories and myths and understood that they were not literal. Sometimes artists try to make a visual communication that can be read by people not familiar with a specific story or perhaps one that has symbolic meaning to a specific audience.

So, I suppose your challenge is: if you wish to depict an angel, how would you show -- visually (not with words and/or title) -- that this being is not human? I believe that the wings represent first that the being is not human, but also is lofty and from the heavens. And, one must not forget that wings give artists another incredible composition tool!

Thank you for writing!

Rodney said...

yes, you are right. wings also give the artist more to work with. all in all i dought that angels mind that much...Rodney