Saturday, May 9, 2015

Museo Nazionale del Bargello

Like Michelangelo's Bacchus, I am feeling a little drunk, and not because of the grappa I'm sipping as I write this. So much art that it all blurs together, a sensory overload of beauty, shape and texture and color saturating my brain so that I'm not even remembering to snap photos of the explanatory labels, when they're there, although since they're usually in Italian they don't do me much good anyway. As I warned you, you'll not be getting a lot of information on things with these posts. I think part of that is the fact that I have run out of words, after using so many of them last month. I'm tired of writing, a bit, at least of writing from a sense of duty as a photoblogger. Maybe I'll come back to these pictures, not all of which are going to make it onto the blog as I go, and write up more detailed posts. Or maybe not. Maybe this will just be a snapshot of each day, things that I enjoyed looking at. I hope you like looking at them, too.

These photos are all from the Palazzo del Bargello, now a national museum but originally the seat of authority for the newly-established Comune di Firenze in the 12th century, and the home of the magistrate of the Republic of Florence, who oversaw the transactions in this city which was a hub of banking and commerce by the middle of the 13th century. In the 16th century, the Medici rulers turned it into a prison. Now it's full of works by Donatello and Michelangelo and the della Robbia family, as well as examples of art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. If you want to visit the Bargello Museum, plan your trip for the morning, as it's closed in the afternoon.

Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Via del Proconsolo, 4, 50122 Firenze

Bronze rooster, Bartolomeo Ammannati workshop, 1558; "David" by Donatello, 1440

"Madonna with Child" by Luca and Andrea della Robbia, 1470; fragment of a carved panel from the courtyard of the museum; sculpture dating back to the Middle Ages; wood sculpture of "Sorrowful Madonna" by an anonymous 16th-century Florentine artist

There were several rooms dedicated to local ceramics, like this one from the Montelupo region to the west of Florence, as well as pottery pieces from Medieval workshops around Italy. It seemed like there were influences from Chinese art, possibly from trade goods coming across the Silk Road; downstairs in a side room there was an exhibit about travel, which included a journal written by Marco Polo himself, in careful black-inked script.

Questa gente non ànno né cità né castella, ma sempre istanno in piani od in montagne. È sono grande gente de le persone, e vivono di latt’e di bestie e di carne; biada non ànno. E non sono gente che mai facciano guerra ad altrui, anzi istanno tutti in grande pace . . . Andamo piú ina(n)zi, e udirete quello che noi sí trovamo, ciò fue la valle iscura.
- excerpt from Milione, written by Marco Polo in 1298

Surgical instruments were scarier, and dragons smaller, back then.

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