Friday, December 3, 2010

From the Archives - Gateway to the Renaissance

Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy  © Doug Hickok

As you approach the renown Uffizi Art Gallery from along the Arno River, you pass beneath this gateway facade designed by the architect Vasari, and enter into the heart of the Italian Renaissance. The Uffizi began as municipal "offices" in 1581, but soon evolved into a world class museum showcasing the vast art collection of the Medici, the ruling family of Florence. A sampling of works on display include those of Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian, a who's who of Renaissance giants.
Walking through this passageway, I glanced up to see this beautiful archway and the balance, proportion, and attention to detail that so identified with the artistic spirit of the age. 
Framed nicely by the opening is the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, the "old Palace" of the Florentine Republic. Imprisoned in this fortress-like tower was the radical Dominican monk Savonarola, who infamously convinced citizens of the city to burn their books and other "immoral" belongings, hence the "Bonfire of the Vanities".
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