Being in Italy has been a dream considering the Renaissance and Baroque are some of my favorite periods of art. Gian Lorenzo Bernini is one of my favorite artists and architects. Like Mucha, he creates beautiful figures and always include such fine details that is hard to recognize unless you are able to observe his work up close. At Galleria Borghese, we were able to see this piece and many others. The entire museum was gorgeous, with each ceiling intricately painted and the signs low-key enough to be tuned out if you wanted to just enjoy the art in an almost natural environment. It was a perfect frame for his sculptures as it did not feel stagnant like many museums do. That is why being in Italy is incredible – the art was created here and belongs here. To take it out of context ruins the beauty and the experience.
Sculpture is not a medium that has interested me in the past. Maybe it’s because we’ve been looking at Roman sculpture in history books since grade school but something about seeing them in person really added a new level of interest and intrigue for me. Here’s my favorite sculpture from the entire trip so far:
Rape of Proserpine by Bernini. Galleria Borghese, Rome.
One of the most Interesting parts of our trip was our tour to Vatican City. We had a tour guide who helped us skipping the huge line waiting for entering the City and also explained historical facts and interesting things related to vast amount of art works existing there.
We got to see Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of Sistine chapel and also his master piece Pieta in Saint Peter’s church. Although I’m not Christian and I don’t practice Christianity, the atmosphere and energy of the place made me feel spiritual and super emotional. I’ll always remember this day as a very special day spent with these amazing people:
Today I was given a bit of a treat. Although not on the itinerary for the trip, there were posters throughout the city for a Mucha exhibit in one of the museums. He is one of my favorite artists and being able to witness such an extensive collection of his work was inspiring. I was able to see the actual scale of his beautiful posters, as well see his process behind creating them. I was also able to see how multi-talented he was, as although I was familiar with a lot of his printed work, he also did paintings and packaging and jewellry that were all so stunning. After seeing the Banksy exhibit this morning as well, it is refreshing to see more contemporary art juxtaposed against such an ancient city.
Today we were able to visit the Colosseum on our very first day in Rome. our guide was extremely helpful in providing historical information about every aspect of the structure and was able to get us inside very quickly. According to the guide and to my surprise I learned that Gladiators were not slaves forced into combat but were treated like professional athletes, many even went to school to become a Gladiator, and some were even protected in battle as an investment.
One of my favorite art pieces that I learned about in my art history classes is a marble sculpture named Laicoon and his sons. I still can’t believe that I got to see this piece in person at the Uffizi Gallery. I was fascinated by its glory that after almost 10 minutes of looking at it, I realized I lost all of my companions, but it was totally worth it. The magnificence of this sculpture could never be captured in any picture or in any book, and I’m so glad that I was able to have this amazing experience in Florence.
Art is a universal language.
No matter what culture you are coming from, what language you speak, or what religion you have, you appreciate and enjoy some form of art. Some people enjoy looking at paintings, some prefer sculptures and some others find street art the best possible way to express themselves and communicate with others.
Tonight I needed a solitary moment to detach from the group and have time with my own thoughts. I put on my favorite album and began to aimlessly walk throughout the city. I revisited everywhere we’ve been and also explored new places that we haven’t. I took a risk and got lost, but I gained were new sights, a sense of adventure, a sense of excitement, and near panic. Tonight provided a much needed independent life experience. It’s almost 2 am local time and I’m finally getting into bed to leave for Roma in a few hours. Tonight I was truly humbled. Ciao Firenze.
Seeing Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures was pretty chilling. They are called his prisoners, because they looked as if they were trapped in the stone, caught in an eternal struggle to break free.
Tonight one of my favorite people and professors, Pouya Afshar, gave us all a surprise visit at dinner tonight. Pouya who was originally supposed to be on the trip joined us for a great night of drinks, dinner, and conversstion.