Daddy went to Spain for a few days to see friends and we decided to meet him when he came back in Florence.
In Florence, we went to the Uffizi Gallery, which is one of the most famous art galleries in the world with some of the most famous paintings in the world. A lot of the paintings are from the Renaissance, which is when there was a rebirth of art and learning in Italy. There were lots of famous artists from the Renaissance with paintings in the Uffizi including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello – yes, this is where they got the names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
We had a tour with a lovely lady called Molly. She gave us sketch books to draw with, some gold leaf (which they used a lot in paintings in the Renaissance), and some seals with the motif of Florence on them. We learned about the Medici family, who were the dukes of Florence and who had lots of money to pay the artists to paint things for them.
We saw some amazing paintings.
We saw Botticelli’s Venus, which shows Venus (the Roman goddess of love and beauty) being born out of a shell in the sea while the god Zephrus blew her to shore. This is probably in the top five most famous paintings in the world. They had made a cast out of it next to the painting so that blind people could feel what it was like.
We also saw the Primavera (or “Spring”), which is another beautiful painting by Botticelli that also has Venus in it. Botticelli loved to paint flowers more than anything else. He painted the same woman (a beautiful woman who lived in Florence) in all his paintings (she was Venus, as well as Mary in some of his paintings).
We saw paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. There was a painting which was by Leonardo and Botticelli’s art teacher (Verrocchio), where the teacher got Leonardo and Botticelli to each paint one of the angels looking at Jesus. Leonardo painted the one on the left, and Botticelli painted the angel on the right. When Leonardo’s teacher saw the angel Leonardo painted, he thought it was so beautiful and perfect that there was no point ever painting again, so Verrocchio quit painting for the rest of his life!
We also saw a shield painted with Medusa’s head by Carravaggio. Medusa was a gorgon monster with hair full of snakes who turned anyone who looked at her into stone. Perseus was a famous warrior who slayed Medusa by looking at her reflection in a shield rather than looking at her face to face.
We really liked visiting the Uffizi.