Florence Day 2 The Academia

Jan Leeming

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FLORENCE - Day 2 - The Academia

Date: 2nd May 2010

FLORENCE - Day 2 - The Academia

There are times when it really is worth the money to book a guided tour and I'd booked for both the Academia and the Uffizi.

We were extremely lucky that we had the guide to ourselves - a very rare occurrence as one is usually tagging along in a group of at least 25 - 30.  We had the undivided attention of Sami Bin Ali  - born in Florence to a Florentine Mother and passionate about his work.

I remember well in the 70's wondering why everyone made such a fuss about Michelangelo's 'David'.  I'd only ever seen pictures in books.  It was quite a different story seeing it in the flesh and I must have spent at least twenty minutes just walking around and staring at the sculpture.  I was so impressed that I actually bought a very heavy copy (8kgs) standing about two feet high and trusted to the honesty of the shop that it would be delivered to my home in Bristol.  It was and I am still it's proud owner.  I remember being told that the copy was done by some sort of electronic process whereby the statue was totally accurate even down to the slight nick in David's sling.  I hadn't looked at the signature in years - Dal Torrione. Have just found the name on the Internet but cannot find out much more.  The statue is a kind of compressed marble and has gone a bit yellow over the years but it is a thing of beauty and my copy still has the toes intact on the left foot (some mindless vandal hacked at them some years ago)

Sami, our guide, was very informative about the 'Prisoners' - not a name given them by Michelangelo - but by future generations because they are unfinished and look as though they are trying to fight their way out of the marble.

Sami was also very knowledgeable about Giambologna whom I seem to remember was almost dismissed by our lecturer back in the 70's as being 'heavy and full blown'.  Sami put a totally different perspective on The Rape of the Sabine Women and I began to accord Giambologna the respect which is his due.  Also, in the 70's The Rape was to the left of The David and really shouldn't have been in the same area.  Now the work is housed in a separate room and one can accord it it's  true value.  I think I remember that Sami told us The Rape is actually the model for the original work which is in the Loggia of the Piazza della Signoria whereas the David in the Piazza is a copy and the real work is in the Academia.

There are not that many artefacts to view in the Academia (as compared with the Uffizi or the Bargello) so the fact that Sami held us in thrall for two hours is due respect for his knowledge and enthusiasm.

I'm not an Art Critic, merely an enthusiastic amateur, so I can only give you a very brief overview of the wonders of Florence.

This is the Copy David in the Piazza della Signoria (not allowed to take photos in the Academia)







FLORENCE - Day 2 - The Academia

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