When a piece of art speaks to you, it is like a religious experience and I have had several since coming to Florence. Botticelli’s Primavera was my first encounter with a divine presence. Flora, the goddess of springtime in the painting, glowed in the low lighting of the gallery. Flora is my favorite figure in the painting, if not my favorite figure of all time.
Michelangelo’s David was my next revelation. Sublime is the only word that can accurately describe him. Terrific and terrible, David is contemplating whether to follow through with his duty and save his people or let cowardice take over and turn back. Michelangelo’s attention to detail, from the veins in his arms to the tendons in his feet, gives David a presence of being alive.
My final awakening was in the Chapel of the Medici’s, where Michelangelo’s female figures Dusk and Night watch over the tombs of the Medici’s. While their male counterparts, Dawn and Day, are intriguing, neither are completely finished. The body language and the musculature and gracefulness of the figures are astonishing. They are beautiful, smooth and hard at the same time. They have become my favorite sculptures and I would have taken a thousand photographs if the security guards had let me.