Rabu, 03 Mei 2017

Home Furniture Lake Charles La

Home Furniture Lake Charles La

hi, i'm rick steves back with more of thebest of europe. this time we look at the city that pulled europe out of the middle agesand into the modern world...florence. fifteenth century florence was the home ofthe renaissance and birthplace of our modern western world. within a few hundred yardsof where i'm standing you can enjoy the greatest art created during that exciting age. and we'll do just that: gaze into the eyesof michelangelo's david, enjoy botticelli's birth of venus, delve into the 3d wondersof ghiberti's glorious bronze gates, appreciate fra angelico's serene beauty, and climb thedome that kicked off the renaissance. and beyond the art, florence knows how to embracelife. we'll cross the arno to where florentine

artisans live work.... and eat very well...[oh,beautiful]... but first, a little background. after the fall of ancient rome, europe wallowedin centuries of relative darkness. there was little learning, commerce, or travel. then,in about 1400, here in florence, there was a renaissance. this exciting rebirth of theculture of ancient greece and rome swept from here all across europe. in architecture, the renaissance brought areturn to the balanced domes, columns and arches of the ancient world. in painting,it revived realism and emotion. artists rediscovered the wonder of nature and the human body. portrayingbeautiful people in harmonious surroundings, they expressed the optimism and confidenceof this new age.

the suddenly perky western civilization madeup for lost centuries with huge gains in economics, science, and art. florence was the centerof it all - and for good reason. this was where capitalism was replacing feudalism.being the middleman of trade between west and east, the city had money and it knew whatto do with it. wealthy merchant and banking families - likethe medici who ruled florence for generations - showed their civic pride by commissioningsplendid art. and florence - recognizing and paying creative genius like no one else - unleashedan explosion of innovation. the renaissance was an age of humanism. atime of confidence: when people worked hard, business was respectable, and excellence wasrewarded. the church no longer put a ceiling

on learning and the great pre-christian thinkers- like plato and aristotle - were back in vogue. in about 1400, with the advent of renaissance,man - now alert - begins to stand on his own, moving out of the shadow of the church. thisdavid by the early renaissance florentine sculptor donatello is one of the first freestandingmale nudes sculpted in europe in a thousand years. it's art for art's sake adorning nota church but a rich man's courtyard. while the formal subject is still biblical - davidslaying the giant - goliath's severed head is at david's feet - truth be told, it's aclassical nude...a celebration of the human body. a generation before this would havebeen shocking - but with the renaissance,

it's art. florence was long an economic powerhouse.rather than its church, it's the city hall - once the palace of the medici family - thattowers over the main square. michelangelo's david originally stood here - this is a copy. the original david is the centerpiece of thenearby accademia gallery, which feels like a temple to humanism. at its altar...one veryimpressive human. the shepherd boy, david, sizes up the giant...thoughtful and self assured, he seems to be thinking, "i can take him." the statue wasan apt symbol, inspiring florentines to tackle their goliaths....

when you look at david, you're looking atrenaissance man. artists now made their point using realism.they did this by merging art and science. for instance, michelangelo actually dissectedhuman corpses to better understand anatomy. this humanism was not anti-religion. now,people realized that the best way to glorify god was not to bow down in church all daylong, but to recognize their talents and to use them. artists like michelangelo even exaggeratedrealism to make their point: notice david's large and overdeveloped right hand. this issymbolic of the hand of god. it was god that powered david to slay the giant...and florentinesliked to think god's favor enabled them to

rise above rival neighboring city-states. the nave-like hall leading to david is linedwith michelangelo's unfinished prisoners - struggling to break out of the marble. michelangelo believedthese figures were divinely created within the rock. he was simply chiseling away theexcess. here we see the renaissance love of the body as michelangelo reveals these compellingfigures. while these statues are called unfinished...perhaps michelangelo was satisfied he'd set them free...andhe moved on to other challenges. now that the old center of florence is essentiallytraffic free, the city itself is more enjoyable than ever. early in the morning the servicetrucks make their deliveries. then the people happily take back the streets. the city iseasy to navigate and its sights are close

together. everything in this episode is withina 15 minute walk. and without the noise and distraction of cars, the architecture is easierto appreciate. the renaissance lasted roughly two centuries.the high renaissance or 1500s is well known for the work of leonardo, michelangelo andraphael. but the first half of the renaissance, the 1400s is often overlooked. while the main structure of the florence cathedralare medieval, its remarkable dome and much of the art decorating its faĆ£§ade, baptistryand bell tower define this first century of the renaissance. the duomo - that's italian for cathedral - ishuge - the largest anywhere when finished

in the 15th century and still in the top 20.the church's claim to fame is its dome - the first of the renaissance and the first greatdome built in europe in over a thousand years. the church was built in gothic times but ratherthan being capped by another spire, it was left with a gaping hole waiting for technologyto catch up with the city's vision. in 1420, filippo brunelleschi won the job and builtthe dome that kicked off the architectural renaissance. brunelleschi's dome - which inspired thosethat follow from the vatican to the us capitol - showed how art and science could be combinedto make beauty. and today, it rewards those who climb to the top with a grand florenceview.

while the duomo's architecture and statuesare impressive, the baptistery, across from the cathedral, is centuries older. the baptisteryis separate because in medieval times you couldn't enter the church until you were baptized.its interior glitters with byzantine-style mosaics created in the 13th century, longbefore the renaissance. these vivid scenes, bringing countless bible stories to life,inspired the medieval faithful. jesus sits at the center of it all, overlookingcreation on judgment day. he gives the ultimate thumbs up...and thumbs down. on his right,angel gabriel blows his trumpet bringing good news to the saved... and on the thumbs downside...well, you don't want to go there. some say the renaissance began in 1401 overthe excitement caused by a city-wide competition

to design and build new doors for the baptistery.lorenzo ghiberti won the commsion and spent decades on this project. these bronze panels, ghiberti's "gates ofparadise," were revolutionary in their realism. by utilizing the mathamatical laws of perspective,ghiberti helped give the art world a whole new dimension - depth. he pulled out all thestops to create maximum three-dimensionality: the tiles have lines which converge to a vanishingpoint. this bench is fore-shortened to exentuate its depth. elements are added to establisha foreground distinct from the middle and the back ground. the effect? as viewers webecome part of the scene. while the panels, like most of the art yousee outside, are copies, the originals of

the cathedral's greatest treasures are storedsafely out of the elements in the adjacent cathedral museum. after nearly 150 years of construction, bruneleschi'sdome was up and the cathedral was nearly complete. then they began decorating the interior withthe finest art of the day. the cathedral's statues and reliefs showeda realism and emotion unprecedented in european art. the work of donatello was a ground-breakingexample. this balcony for the choir, captures the exuberanceof the age. dancing and swirling in a real space, oblivious to the columns, donatello'shappy angels celebrate the freedom and motion of this new age.

some say donatello invented the renaissancestyle that michelangelo would perfect half a century later. he was an eccentric, innovative,work-a-holic master who lit up his statues with an inner spirituality or soul. donatello's mary magdalene - carved out ofwood - is provocative...shockingly realistic. the prostitute, rescued from the streets byjesus, folds her hands in prayer. her once-beautiful body has been scarred by the fires of herfasting and remorse. while her physical body is neglected and her eyes are hollow, herspirit stands strong. the museum's most famous piece - sculpteda generation later - is this pieta by michelangelo. the broken body of the crucified christ istended by three mourners - his mother mary,

mary magdalene, and nicodemus. michelangelosculpted jesus taller than life - notice the zig-zag of his body. this accentuates itsweight making the theological point of the statue clear - jesus is dead. nicodemus is a self-portrait of the 80 yearold michelangelo. after spending a lifetime bringing statues to life, michelangelo reflectstenderly upon his savior - looking down thoughtfully at what could be one of his final creations. i'm meeting my florentine friend, tommasoat i fratellini - a venerable hole in the wall much loved among locals for its tastysandwiches and wine sold by the glass. tommaso: grazi. thank you. and when you aredone you leave it on the rack.

rick: boy, it's intense in the city.tommaso: yes, it is. well if you want to leave the tourists let's cross the river and let'sgo to where the real florentines live and work.rick: where's that? tommaso: the oltarno area. there's much more to this town than tourismas you'll quickly find in the characteristic back lanes of the oltrarno district. artisans,busy at work, offer a rare opportunity to see traditional craftsmanship in action. you're welcome to drop in to little shopsbut remember, it's polite to greet the proprietor. your key phrase is "can i take a look?" ..."possoguardare?"

here in this city of art there's no shortageof treasures in need of a little tlc. rick: this is beautiful. how old is this painting?artist: this is a 17th century painting. rick: from florence?artist: we don't know. maybe the area is geneva. rick: geneva. each shop addresses a need with passion andexpertise. fine instruments deserve the finest care. grand palaces sparkle with gold leafthanks to the delicate and exacting skills of craftspeople like this. a satisfying way to finish an oltrarno experienceis to enjoy a florentine steakhouse which any italian meat lover knows means chianinabeef. the quality is proudly on display.

steaks are sold by weight and generally shared;the standard serving is about a kilo for two, meaning about a pound per person. the preparationis simple and well-established. good luck if you want it well done. rick: oh, look at this. oh, beautiful. chianinabeef...so the meat is called chianina? tommaso: that's its name because it comesfrom the chianti. rick: oh, chianti. okay. and tell me aboutthis concept of the good marriage, of the food, you know.tommaso: well, when you have a chianina meat, you want to have some chianti wine. and theygo together well, they marry together, we say "si sposa bella."rick: si sposa bella. a good marriage. in

other words, the wine is from tuscany andthe meat is from tuscany. tommaso: exactly. you don't want to have awine from somewhere else but tuscany. we're staying at hotel loggiato dei serviti.this spiffed up 16th century monastery offers a good mix of character and comfort. fromthe understated elegance of its lounges and breakfast room, stone stairways lead to comfortablebedrooms. once the cells of monks; today's rooms - with air-conditioning, antique furniture,and mini-bars - wouldn't be recognized by their original inhabitants. a block away is another monastery - with simplercells than our hotel...but better art. the monastery of san marco, with its peacefulcloister is now a museum - welcoming the public

to enjoy the greatest collection of frescoesand paintings by fra angelico. working in the mid-1400s, fra angelico - equalparts monk and painter - fused medieval spirituality with early renaissance techniques. in this painting, he creates a realistic sceneset in what many consider the first great renaissance landscape. christ is mourned byboth haloed saints, and contemporary florentines. the scene is holy, but rather than in heaven,it's set on a lawn in tuscany...among real trees and people. the monks lived above the cloister and greetingthem at the top of the stairs was fra angelico's sublime annunciation. the quiet beauty andexquisite detail in these 500-year old frescos

can put even a busy tourist in a peacefuland reflective state of mind. the halls are lined with monk's cells, eachwith a single meditation-enhancing fresco. studying these religious scenes, we can seehow fra angelico thought of painting as a form of prayer and why it's said he couldn'tpaint a crucifix without shedding tears. this is the cell of savonarola, the charismaticmonk who, by giving fiery sermons denouncing the decadence of the renaissance threw outthe medici and, for a time, turned the city into a theocracy. ruling the city, he sponsored "bonfires ofthe vanities" - in which his followers would collect and burn jewelry, fleshy paintings,anything considered too modern, hedonistic

and humanistic. even the florentine painterbotticelli got caught up in this moralistic hysteria - tossing some of his own "decadent"paintings onto the fires of savonarola. finally, when florence decided it preferredthe renaissance to a church-sponsored return to the dark ages, savonarola himself was burned. today's florence could provide plenty of decadencefor a savonarola rant, but if you want to enjoy a splash of materialism or just appreciatethe fine symmetry of italian window displays, florence can fill the bill. for shoppers, florence means high qualityand top fashions. wandering through medieval streets, while being tempted by a seductivearray of fine fashion and italian design can

make for a delightful afternoon. the ponte vecchio or old bridge has been busywith shoppers since before the renaissance. jewelry is a florentine specialty. the bridgeis lined with gold and silver shops - a tradition that goes back centuries. nearby, the medici family ruled florence fromthis grand palace, the palazzo vecchio. their offices - or uffizi - were next door. now,these offices hold the finest collection of italian paintings anywhere - the uffizi gallery. each day here, and throughout europe, frustratedtourists who don't study their guidebooks waste precious hours in museum lines. meanwhile,travelers who made a reservation by phone

or purchase the city museum pass - as we did- are allowed right in. the uffizi's collection - displayed on onecomfortable floor, takes you on a sweep through italian art history from the 12th throughthe 17th century. gilded gothic altarpieces, like this annunciationby the sienese master simone martini, must have dazzled the faithful in the 1300s. thestars of the florentine class of 1500 are all here: leonardo da vinci's annunciationis exquisite. michelangelo's holy family shows he can do more than carve statues. and raphael,considered a synthesis of the power of michelangelo and the grace of leonardo, captures a delicatemoment in his madonna of the gold finch. and the collection follows art after the renaissancewith masterpieces like parmigianino's slippery

lady with the long neck. for me, the uffizi - like florence itself- is all about the thrilling leap from medieval to modern - as happened when europe movedfrom gothic to renaissance. these altarpieces are gothic - being pre-renaissance they simplytell their story through symbolism rather than realism. the gold leaf sky isn't realistic...butit implies a rich and holy setting. the angels are stacked - like a totem pole. flankingthis cross, panels - like painted pages - tell the story of the crucifixion...but with littlesense of depth. yet artists were trying...to show jesus' head leaning out...it actuallydoes. giotto, while still gothic, is often consideredthe first modern painter. notice the progress.

a more realistic setting places mary and babyjesus on a throne occupying a believable space. the kneeling angels in front and peek-a-boosaints behind create an illusion of depth. if the renaissance was a foundation of ourmodern world, a foundation of the renaissance was classical art. sculptors, painters, andpoets alike turned to ancient work for inspiration. two thousand year old roman and greek statueslike these decorated gardens of the wealthy. this ancient art was considered the epitomeof beauty. kings made copies. napoleon stole his favorite pieces. in the 19th century youngaristocrats on the grand tour came here and swooned. in the renaissance - as in the ancient world- people saw the glory of god in the beauty,

order, and harmony of the human body - god'sgreatest creation. classical statues clearly inspired sandrobotticelli. for me, his birth of venus is the uffizi's purest expression of renaissancebeauty. the goddess of love, born from the foam of a wave, is just waking up. botticelli combines the beauty of nature andthe human body - the hands, wings, and robe mingle with the wind. with venus' flyawayhair, the airy spaciousness of the distant horizon, and the flowers - caught at the peakof their beauty, tumbling in slow motion - the world itself is fresh and newborn. botticelli's primavera or springtime showsthe renaissance finally in full bloom. the

warm winds blow in causing flora to sproutflowers from her lips. meanwhile, the figure of spring spreads petals from her dress...thethree graces dance....a blindfolded cupid happily sprays his little arrows, and in thecenter stands a fertile venus, the classical goddess of love. visiting florence leaves lovers of art andgood living with rich memories. and while much of the great art of the renaissance remainshere, the influence of that cultural explosion - the florentine renaissance - reverberatesthroughout the world and for that, we can be thankful. i hope you've enjoyed our look at the artisticsplendor of florence. let's explore more of

this great city and more of europe togetheragain soon. until then, i'm rick steves. keep on travelin'. ciao.

Home Furniture Lake Charles La

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