I'm so excited that today is the day to go to the Uffizi and see some of the most influential art in the world. I'm really quite giddy at the thought of this adventure. Off and out the door by 7:45am to find the ticket queue.
It definitely seems better to get there early, when they open, with a voucher for your ticket [door #3 on the west portico side, near the Arno end]. Even my voucher line started to queue up rather quickly and become long as I waited for the doors to open.
Ticket secured I head to the entrance [door #1, east portico, piazza end]. It's quite an affair to walk through security, but not like at the airport. You need to remove jackets and bags and have them run through an x-ray machine. You also have to walk through a metal detector. It is similar to going into some of the government buildings in Chicago. Then you show your ticket to another guard who lets you into the main part of the building.
I follow the crowd andhead up a large marblestone stairway for a several flights and find the entrance at the top [whew, breathless]. Here is where you hand over your ticket and someone rips off the museum portion and hands you back your stub. Free at last to now roam the halls and discover.
Once there, I decide to head way to the opposite side of the building, away from the crowds, and work my way back.
Amazing! First of all, by doing this, I ended up having the Botticelli room to alone. YES, alone! For 10-15 minutes by completely alone. Meaning I had "all the time in the world" to soak in his work without any interference. The experience was so rich in emotion that words completely fail me now. The Birth of Venus and Spring are simply gorgeous works that left me utterly broken, humbled, uplifted, inspired and exalted in spirit*body*emotion.
Leaving the room is only to step into the impressive and artistic corridor that is also the whole of this museum. Part and parcel of the experience with the Uffizi is the building itself. A masterpiece in its own right, you simply are faced with beauty every where you look. The painted ceilings alone could take a day [or week!] to explore.
The rooms are neverending [or so I dream] as I wander through taking it all in. My biggest interest is in seeing the works of Caravaggio. When I studied his works in art history, I was and am still completely mesmerized by his shadows and the details there, but nearly hidden. You have to look close, pay attention and within these shadows are little worlds. There is also something for me that is so strong and emotionally evocative with Caravaggio that is felt in the light emerging from the darkness. I love this passage from the Uffizi website:
In this masterpiece, Bacchus is not represented in an idealized way. On the contrary, he might look like a man of the people, like one of those characters Caravaggio used to hang around with in taverns and brothels. As in the majority of his paintings, the landscape is missing: the artist wants to focus on the humanity of the character rather than superfluous details. His choice of representing popular, uncouth and clumsy subjects brought him much criticism during his life.
Unconventional, introspective and a real rebel, Caravaggio focuses on the human being, describing the imperfections and limitations of his mortal nature.
His way of painting upset forever the course and history of art.
Ah, what I wouldn't give to be able to time travel and meet him. Oh and all the other artists of Italy. As much as I love language, I think it is incredibly difficult to capture the emotional experience I had in the Uffizi. There were so many madonnas and jesus babies and crucifictions that some of my past turmoil with religion crept into the experience. I was also overwhelmed with the reality of seeing so many masterpieces that I had once studied in college. It was as if time was suspended, and all of history and all of my life unified and overlapped in a way that my heart swell, overflow and burst with the richness of experience.