Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Duomo

The facade of the Duomo in Florence

The ceiling of the Baptistery at the Duomo
depicting God giving judgement -- with
one thumb up for those going to heaven,
and one down for the hell bound.

To the left Steven in front of Ghiberti's bronze
doors on the Baptistery, suddenly discontented with
our front door back in Canada.

It's another beautiful, sunny day in Florence, and we may go to the
Uffizi today. Yesterday curiosity got the better of us about the
gorgeous church the Duomo, which we see out of two of the windows
in our apartment. So... we grabbed a delicious panini at a nearby
little coffee bar and set off. First we went to see the Ghiberti bronze doors
on the Baptistery, a separate building -- the oldest in Florence, built
in the 11th century. I studied everything we're seeing in art history
in high school, and may I say the pictures do not begin to do any
of what we're seeing justice. And on the other hand, every corner,
every corner of every building, surprise spots above ordinary storefronts
is decorated either with sculptures, or ancient paintings. It is like
non-stop Christmas for an artist's eyes, and you get absolutely
exhausted from delight. Isn't that wonderful?

Then you have to eat. So we are stuffed all of the time -- with
art, and food.

On these sunny days it's deliciously warm in the city, but at night
the temperature drops down to something approaching Canadian
levels and we ate last night in an unheated Trattoria across the
street. We were so chilled that even though the food was excellent,
it was not that much fun eating it. So tonight we'll pull on all of our
sweaters before we head out.

The show continues to be fun, but like most of the other artists we
know we are spending more and more time out in the city, and
less and less time at the show. This weekend will be different.

Well I'm off now.

Have a filling-your-mind-with-art day.


Mary Lou van Schaik said...

Hello Barbara! What a treat to read your posts from Florence: you're giving us a real taste of Florence's beauty, culture and especially, fine food. Congratulations on the show. Your paintings look completely at home there. Love -- Mary Lou

Zina Chmielowski said...

One word - gorgeous!
Thanks, Barbara.

Theresa Rankin said...

How wonderful to be in Florence, Italy!! I am sure you are enjoying the heck out of it! Sorry for the long span between hearing from me...I must be something of recluse and don't know it!
Congrats on the show...who could deserve it more...go girl!
Anyway...wonderful blogging as always and hope you are getting the chance to paint while there!

Melinda said...

You had me LMAO about the door! I remember studying this masterpiece in art history and thought then how marvelous it would be to see it. Now, you and Steven have and it seems more real.

Anonymous said...

Hi B Funnest. WTG! Stumbled on those doors one evening while looking for a washroom and discovered: #1) they don't open (impractical bunch -- the 13th century) #2) they're haunted by a certain Mrs. Hildebrand - high school art teacher. Heads up; her hypnotically implanted narrative lingers around Donatello's David too, and the big one also -- transition from Renaissance to Baroque, sexy feather detail ... it's all just there. Terrifying -even before you get to the big Uccello from Lorenzo's bedroom in the Uffizi. A

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Mary Lou,

We didn't get to comment yesterday. Each day is so filled with things to do! The climate is 100% intellectual...something this shallow Canadian finds a real treat.

Thank you so much for your lovely compliments.
Take care,

Love Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Zina,

Thanks. You need to come to Florence. It is really beyond description.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Theresa,

You would just love it here. everything is art all the time, with intense discussions about the meaning of what you're seeing and what you're making at every turn. And the food. Oh God. Luckily we walk miles every day. Over ancient cobblestone. Very good exercise. So wonderful to hear from you. No I'm not painting. I don't have paint with me, and I'd say that's the only thing I miss.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

The picture of the doors in my art history book was in black and white, and the doors were very dark black. But they have since been cleaned and restored. There is restoratin going on all over the city. The Duomo is partially covered with scaffolding, and you can see the difference on the clean side. White and green marble make patterns.

There is so much to tell you that it's a good thing I do the blog every day or I'd forget.


Barbara Muir said...

Dearest A.,
Yes the doors do open, but they're quite firmly barred on the inside. I was so overwhelmed in the Ufizzi that I can't remember which painting went over whose bed. You are funny. I can just see poor Ms. Hildebrand's worried face as she burned her fingers again putting the book under the
overhead projector. But she managed to inspire me anyway despite my 14 year old fascination with boys.

Love ya,


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!