Obsessed with Botticelli's Maria! Visit the Uffizi Gallery, the face of Florence

Maria Botticelli The Italian Renaissance and the Revolution of Knowledge

Visit the Uffizi Gallery, the face of Florence

Early December 2022. I visited Florence. And I decided to enjoy Uffizi, the royal road that most tourists visit.

However, my purpose is not merely to appreciate museums.Takahiro Ueda, "Dostoevsky and His Wife on a Fateful Journey: A Journey of Madness and Love in Western Europe" - A journey that retraces a once-in-a-lifetime journey with his wife that changed the destiny of a great writer.As I mentioned in my article "The Dostoevsky Museum in Florence", I came to Florence in search of a place associated with Dostoevsky. And of course, there are many works related to Dostoevsky on display in this museum.

However, I had an unexpected encounter while visiting this museum. It was Botticelli's Maria. It was an encounter that I had never imagined before coming here. In this article, I would like to talk about that.

So let's get started.

The center of Florence is so beautiful that you will be astonished wherever you walk. Something is off the scale. Walking around Florence for the first time gave me goosebumps. I can hardly remember the last time I had such goosebumps. I just kept sighing and saying, "Wow....

When I first visited here, I was surprised to see that this building was a museum. If it were not for the sign, I might have walked right past it. Now it is time to enter the Uffizi Gallery.

We entered and came up the stairs. Then, I was suddenly confronted with a startling sight.

This corridor itself is truly like a painting.

By the way, I reserved a table first thing in the morning so that I could enjoy the Uffizi Gallery without so many people. I strongly recommend you to make a reservation first thing in the morning, as the crowds will be huge within 30 minutes from here.

The area immediately after entering this museum is dominated by medieval works.

Piero de Francesca, "Statue of Prince and Princess Urbino(ca. 1472-74)

From there, it leads to a room with works by Piero de Francesca, a representative of the early Renaissance.

What is nice about this museum is that if you follow the route, you can see the flow from medieval paintings to the early Renaissance and then to the High Renaissance. You can see at a glance how the style of painting changes as you move down through the ages. I was impressed by this exhibition style.

'TheBirth of VenusThe "®" (1485.(circa)

And finally, Botticelli makes his appearance. When you think of the Renaissance, you think of this man!

These works, known to all, are on display at the Uffizi Gallery.

However, I was not attracted to Botticelli's most famous works, but to the following paintings displayed in the same room.

Madonna enthroned with child, four angels, and saints

Especially Maria, pictured here. I could not take my eyes off of her...!

There is something different about Botticelli's paintings. In fact, I had seen Botticelli's paintings at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt before coming to Italy.

I had a dim feeling even then, but it became clear when I saw that painting by Uffizi. Yes, if you say so.power of the facepower of observationBotticelli's work is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that "the music of the world" is a "good music.

Simply put, his face is strong. I feel something so solid in his paintings that I cannot imagine any other expression.

I do not know more than this. But I was intensely attracted to this Maria. I can say that I was fascinated. I would leave the room with the image burned into my eyes and say, "Okay, this is the last one," but then I would come back and admire the painting again. It's like that all over again. I visited the Uffizi for two days in a row, and I repeated this cycle almost 10 times. I couldn't help but laugh to myself at how much I loved this painting.

And here is the room where the Venus de Medici, a work by Cleomenes that was often visited by Dostoevsky and his wife, is exhibited. You are not allowed to enter the room, so you can only view it from outside.

What a sophisticated arrangement...Florence's aesthetic sense!

Until the "Venus de Milo," now in the Louvre, was unearthed, this was the more famous Venus. This statue was regarded as the ultimate in feminine beauty. Hmmm.......but my personal best sculptural beauty is still "Nike of Samothrace".

Well, it is natural that people's sense of aesthetics at that time and I, who live in modern Japan, have different senses of beauty, and moreover, each of us has different tastes. This is just "my taste. It would be extremely barren to argue which one is better than the other. However, I am curious to know what Dostoevsky would have thought when he saw this Venus.

And Raphael's "John the Baptist in the Wilderness," a favorite of Dostoevsky, was located between Michelangelo's painting and Raphael's "Madonna of Hiwa.

Frankly, when I first saw this painting, I wondered why Dostoevsky liked it and not the others. There is also Raphael's famous "Madonna of the Hiwa" next to it. Nevertheless, Dostoevsky liked this painting very much. Hmmm, I wonder why...

As I was looking at it carefully, I suddenly realized that I could not take my eyes off this picture. I found myself unable to take my eyes off this picture...

Some things do not convey their charms at a quick glance. There are also those that only begin to somehow convey their charm when you look at them slowly and intently. This picture is probably the latter.

As I watched the entire exhibition carefully, I suddenly wondered about something.

In this painting, the light source appears to be the cross in the upper left corner, but apparently it is behind the body. However, compositionally, the line from the cross to John runs in a straight line, which is very pleasing. I cannot see this light source problem whether I look at it or not. Is it an optical illusion of my eyes? Am I thinking too much? Is the cross simply before John? However, as I watched the painting carefully while thinking about such things, I gradually began to understand why Dostoevsky was attracted to this painting.

When you stare at this painting, John seems to emerge from the darkness. And then there is "slanting light," which Dostoevsky loved. In Dostoevsky's works, "slanting light" appears many times in important scenes. For Dostoevsky, the rays of light coming into the darkness are the light of salvation. The contrast between darkness and light must have a significant meaning for him. Dostoevsky's fondness for Rembrandt, "the master of light and darkness," is also a reflection of this story. In this light, "John the Baptist in the Wilderness" also seems to be Rembrandt-like.

The Baptism of Christ, c. 1475, Andrea del Verrocchio.

The Uffizi Gallery also houses many other masterpieces of art, too numerous to mention here.

One last thing, however, is that Leonardo da Vinci was the assistant for the Baptism of Christ in the upper left corner, and he is credited with painting the angel and background in the lower left corner.

Indeed, when you actually see the painting, the difference in technique is nothing short of astonishing. There is even a legend that the master who painted this picture broke his brush afterwards because of da Vinci's amazing skill. This legend seems to be a creation of later generations, but I felt sorry for him because it would have been natural for him to do so if he had been shown something like this. Da Vinci must have been a great man.

To be honest, I did not have such high expectations for the Uffizi Gallery until I came to Florence. I was so focused on Raphael's "Madonna in a Small Chair" in Palazzo Pitti, which Dostoevsky loved, that my mind did not even go to the Uffizi Gallery.

But what do you think? The Uffizi Gallery was 30 times better than I had imagined. No wonder this museum is one of the top museums in the world. I would love to visit this place again. And I would love to see Maria again...!

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