Monday, May 3, 2010

Gemito Sculpture Bargello Museum Florence, Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have written a couple of times before about the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, especially the restoration of Donatello’s bronze “David.” It is the national sculpture museum and a favorite of mine in Florence, Italy. Formally a prison in which executions took place, its courtyard and three levels of rooms are filled with art and artifacts. She holds not only bronze and stone sculpture by greats such as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Giambologna, but also medallions, terra-cotta by Della Robbia, tapestries, musical instruments, and even Persian bowls and armor.

I have revisited the Bargello twice since I returned in April. And I was delighted that one of my favorite sculptures has been put back in place after restoration (and the restoration appears to have been a good one). In all honestly, I rarely like sculptures, especially bronze, of children: At least the ones that I have seen in the United States. They seem kitsch to me and too contrived, like Norman Rockwell had a sweetness overdose or something. (I like the art of Norman Rockwell, but one could argue, he is borderline on the “too much charm” edge.)

Maybe you will feel that way about my favorite here Il Pescatore (The Fisher Boy) by Vincenzo Gemito from 1874-1876. But I love the natural gesture of this bronze figure sculpture. I like that the patina is not what my foundry calls “cowboy brown” or worse – shiny. I love the way the boy’s toes are gripping the mound he is squatting on. I can remember this feeling of slowly sliding down the side of the muddy river bank, while trying not to.

I love how the fingers of the boy’s left hand radiate out from the palm, while he uses his right hand to get a better grip on the slippery fish. I adore his exaggerated downcast eyelashes that catch the light enough to showoff the boy’s concentrated face. The lips? I cannot decide if they are exhaling with the gripping effort of his hands or if he is inhaling with the thought of “I gotcha!”

Anyway, I include many photos here, unable to edit apparently. Such is my infatuation with this sculpture of a child. But I should do well to let you decide for yourself.

On a side note: My blog was just listed in the TOP 10 blog posts in Italy this week: