Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Tuesday, we went to Santa Maria Novella with instructor Gert Jan van der Sman who is 6 foot seven and hard to understand. Yesterday's instructors name was Waldemar de Boer, I think I forgot to note that. Back to today. The master today was Domenico Ghirlandaio the teacher of Michelangel in his early years. In S.Maria N. we concentrated on the Capella Mageiore, the family chapel of the Giovanni Tornabuoni family. This chapel is a good example of how church, family and artist had a special relationship. Although the chapel is about the religious events around the Life of Mary, they are blended in with the events and places of the Tornabuoni family. Thus it has been studied a lot as it is a place that has so many portraits of the citizens of Florence at that time and researchers have been able to identify most of them. Interestingly a lot of identifications are made from taxation and contract paper trails. Ghirlandaio developed new techniques for creating space and mixing colours. His rival was Botichelli. Michelangelo would have worked on some of these frescoes. The chapel also has frescoes of the life of St. John the Baptist. The window is interesting as it depicts the scene of Madonna in the Snow. The scenes are all placed in Florence. Remember this family was probably one of the richest and a friend of the Medici. They were trying to show that Florence is the new Rome.
Masters and markers in art history - Giotto, Masaccio, Ghirlandio, Michaelangelo, Leonardo.
Giotto's cross - Probably Giotto's earliest work made at the end of the 13th century. It is painted on wood. Its significance is that it is done with such naturalism as opposed to the Byzantine flat symbolic images. The face is very dramatic and full of true emotion at the time of Christ's death on the cross. There is much written on this cross and the evolution of the crucifix from the time Saint Francis first saw a crucifix speak to him telling him to rebuild God's house. Saint Francis' experience explains how spiritual images can be devotional objects as through them Christ speaks to us, thus when we pray on these objects God hears us.
Masaccio's Holy Trinity - dated 1425 - 26 is the first example of a the use and understanding of the laws of two point perspective. God is depicted outside of the laws of perspective. There is much discussion as to the purpose of having God in the picture plane in two places at one time.
The fresco also is significant for it depicts God, Christ and the Holy Spirit in the same scene.
Then we went walking. No one knew where as we could not hear the instructor and he really did not say. We stopped for coffee. I think some gals were about to faint. He led us to a convent square and it turned out to be a museum for Ghirlandio, Cennaiolo di Ghirlandio. We looked at the last supper he painted in their dinning hall. It was great as here we also saw fresco done in Sinopia. The transfer of the drawing from the carton on to the fresco. We then ended up at the church of Ognissanti. Here you see Ghirlandio's and Botticelli's portrait of St. Gerome and St. Agustine. Bottichelli is buried in the church in the right transept, it dates 1510.
Then back to the hotel for me. I was exhausted. I worked more on my essay and began my power point. I took two breaks to see a couple of interesting shops at my door step. One has the cameos, the other is one of the oldest or is the oldest perfumery in Florence. It is in the Blue Guide. It was an amazing building with all the bottles and scents. It really is unexplainable how it was set up. I also went in the stationary and it had a lot of artist supplies and I bought field brushes and more paints for my field paint box. I thought it was a steal of a deal at 2,10 a colour. They are not artist quality but hard to find at home and even these are expensive. So I have replacement colours for the box.
Had a good supper over by the Duomo at the Duomo Cafe, the second time we ate there. Then I worked again. Internet is in and out.
published July 18 - photos later