One of the saddest moments of my life was saying goodbye to the National Gallery when I left London after studying there. I remember sitting in the impressionist wing and trying not to cry as I said my goodbyes to my favorite Monet and Degas masterpieces. Going back to Provo, where there was an overwhelming lack of any French impressionistic art, was depressing. I am more sad now, than I was then.
I cannot possibly write about each of the works of art that stirred my soul while in Italy, but I can write about a few. All of the pictures are from various online sources, since we weren't actually allowed to take photos in most of these places:
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus and La Primavera:
Very, very cool in person. It always amazes me how massive some of these paintings are in person. These two filled huge sections of the wall in the museum. They were beautiful.
Michelangelo's The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, The Pieta, and The David
The Sistine Chapel was amazing. Then, you sat and thought about the fact that someone painted that ceiling. While balancing on wooden scaffolding. That that someone was Michelangelo. That it was FRESCO, meaning it was painted into wet plaster, requiring incredible skill. And you thought, "Yea . . . amazing doesn't really cut it."
Remember how I wrote about one of the two moments I teared up in Italy? Well, seeing The Pieta was the second, only this time I actually cried. I cannot express how moving this statue really is. The picture is beautiful, but it doesn't do the work justice. It just cannot capture how REAL it is. What is most amazing, is that this realistic portrayal of Mary holding Christ after his crucifixion is carved out of a piece of marble, and yet you can feel the emotions of Mary when you look at the cold stone. I loved this because it was a reminder that Christ was more than the Savior of the World: he was someone's sweet, little boy. I just felt so much for Mary when I saw this, as well as an overwhelming appreciation for our Savior and his sacrifice for each of us. It was a spiritual experience seeing this in person.
OK, the first thing that is so impressive about The David is obviously how massive the statue is. I think it's something like sixteen feet tall. It's so grand in its size alone that it makes you take notice of it. But then, you realize it's the little things that make it such a tremendous masterpiece: the way you can sense the weight of the stone in David's hand, his feet that look so real you think his toes might start to wiggle, or the veins in his arm.
Michelangelo was an artistic genius. It was so interesting, because after seeing some of his art pieces, you realized no other sculptor offers him much competition. We saw other marble pieces that were beautiful, but they lacked the realism that Michelangelo accomplished so brilliantly.
I'm really sad that Michelangelo's dead, because I think I would like to be his friend. I also think I would like him to sculpt just a little something for my garden.