Thursday, July 18, 2013

Carlo Dolci Uffizi Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

One of my Florentine friends asked me to join him as his guest to the Galleria degli Uffizi last Saturday morning.  One of his friends works at the famous museum here in Florence, Italy, and gave him a pass for two that he may use anytime he likes.  No queue!  And free!  

One of the perks for those who live here (and have the Uffizi Card) is that if it becomes easy to visit a museum, one does not feel the “pressure” to see or even try to see the entire collection on exhibit.  So, while we actually sat down in the Botticelli room for a bit and peeked our heads into a few favorite areas, in general we dodged the tourists in an attempt to visit some of the latter rooms.  My friend said that he is often visually exhausted by the time he gets close to the end and does not often spend much time there.

Well, as we wandered around, noting that several rooms we hoped would be open were not (renovations), we stumbled upon an exhibit of which neither of us had been aware!  The exhibit is titled, “Il Gran Principe Fernando de Medici (1663-1713)” and features some truly marvelous works of art in the private Medici collection.

In my book about my experiences street painting in Italy, I shared with you that my first street painting was “The Blue Madonna” by Carlo Dolci.  I had seen the original portrait years before in Florida and never forgot it.  So, perhaps you can imagine my joy when I saw Carlo Dolci’s portrait “St. Mary Magdalen.”

I do not really know how to explain my emotional response to Sig. Dolci’s paintings.  In general, I am not fond of portraits, religious ones or not (although in truth the religious topics often strike me as more dramatic and well done than secular subjects).  There is a quality to the painting that moves me.  The face is softly lit, softly modeled; the figure perfectly posed for her expression.   The jewelry on the dress, the round container that she is holding, the eyebrows, the delicate lips, the hands, the skin itself:  absolutely breath-taking!

Apparently the Grand Prince felt something similar.  Upon his death, the museum card read, twelve works by Carlo Dolci were found in his collection.  This Magdalen portrait was in his “private chamber” (and I do not think that refers to the bathroom - ha!).  I apologize for the glare on each of these snapshots.  I could not find a position without one.  Also, the book for this exhibition is wonderful (40 euro price tag).  However, the image of this Carlo Dolci painting in the book was too light and more than usual, lacked some emotional quality of the original. The darker background in my shots is more like the experience one had in the museum standing right in front of this work of art.  I hope you can find a painting that moves you and teaches you as well.  I was glad that I received this little gift of a trip to the Uffizi!