Wednesday, November 10, 2010

THE DAVID ... he's so fine!

7:30 p.m. Walked home tonight after a lecture at the B.I. from a film maker who's doing a documentary on the life of Alice Walker.

Feeling a little like Juliet of the Spirits as I walk rather fast in the rainy dark, with my Asian umbrella above my head, glancing at people quickly/a little, getting impressions of the Italian chic, the Italian unique, the young men with semi shaven jaw, thin hips and long legs; a dark haired woman with black eyes glancing at me over a man's shoulder as I walk by; a grey haired man walking too slow in front of me, so that I cross the street and see a young man walking even slower in front of him; they both cross the street after me and I wonder ... the shine of the Arno and a dark passage that I've never taken which leads me out just at the Uffizi collonade.

Maybe it's just the right mixture of espresso and wine that makes me feel the excitement of Italy. Two espressos, one glass of wine this afternoon ... not much... Maybe it was the exquisite visit to the Accademia Gallery where Frank Nero gave an amazing lecture about Michaelangelo's David.

This morning thunder, lightening and hail had me staying in til noon. Ventured out to the Casa Buonarotti where I was treated to two of M's first works ... an exquisite bas relief of Madonna and child (Madonna of the Steps), and a sensuous full relief called The Battle of of Greeks and Centaurs. A friendly docent loved telling me some of the stories I'd already heard from our lecturers, made much better because they were told with an Italian accent.

Then a walk the long way round to the Accademia, a pick-me-up espresso at a friendly bar and meeting first Debra, friendly fellow student from Australia, and then the rest of our class. I'll write up the notes of the talk later ... just let me say that in the long room with the Michelangelos one first sees the unfinished sculptures Bearded Prisoner/Slave and Awakening Prisoner, intended for Pope Julius II's tomb . In them you can see the process--the figures not quite free; the marks of the single fork chisel and the triple fork chisel, and even M's fingerprints on the marble.

At the end of the room stands the statue of The David, as he's always referred to, breathtaking. The facts are well known: he's 17 feet tall, carved of one piece of marble (unlike most, even smaller, sculptures which are pieced together after they're finished) and he truly exemplifies Michelangelo's aim to pull the soul out of a piece of stone, not by creating the form, but by releasing the form from the stone it's in. Hard not to rhapsodize a little, and Frank, though American, has the personality and passion for it.

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