Welcome to my Art Blog! I paint or draw most weekdays and sometimes finish a painting a day. I fondly call them my "Postcards from Paradise" because it's such a beautiful place the Lord made here for us.

Friday, March 22, 2013

More of Michelangelo's Work in Florence

Although I was not able to see all I wanted to in Florence, even of Michelangelo's work, I was able to spend the good part of another day at the Medici Chapels.

The Prince's Chapel, an amazing open dome, highly decorated inside with marble, semi-precious stones, paintings on the very high domed ceiling and every surface covered with decorations, made me wonder at the cost and risk of the artists and artisans who labored there.

A few steps from the Prince's Chapel is the Michelangelo New Sacristy with the artist's Madonna with Child, his sculpted tomb of Giuliano with statues of Night and Day, and the tomb of Lorenzo with Dusk and Dawn sculptures.

So much to take in! One could easily spend a week in the chapels and not really see half of what is there. (And there is more downstairs in the crypt: sculptures and reliquaries!)

The tomb sculptures interested me the most for study. The marbles, still shiny and glowing even in the dim light, invited me to sit and look. For me, the best way to look is to draw.

Although there was not a good place to sit for a close view, I was able to park myself behind the altar, and could see the Tomb of Lorenzo de'Medici about 25 feet away, on my right. There I had clear visual path, if not a detailed one, to Michelangelo's Dawn sculpture.

Say what you will about the artist's muscular female figures (with, as one person put it, "breasts tacked on at anatomically suspect angles"). They are beautiful sculptures, all.

I sat down on the hard wooden bench (indeed, every public surface in Florence is like iron) and got out a 9x12" pad of colored Canson and some charcoal I'd packed in my suitcase. (Most of what I brought along for the trip was art supplies!)

The guard ventured over to where I was and informed me that I could not use "the carbon", but only pencil. So... sigh... back into my bag went the Canson and my little container of charcoal and chalk. I had my small journal with plain white paper and a drawing pencil, so I attempted a sketch, albeit a little one.

“Dawn Study” (after Michelangelo)
Pencil on white paper, 7.5"x5.5”
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


hmuxo said...

This is another beautiful sketch, Diana !! I'm so curious on why you couldn't use charcoal..hmmm. .
Wonderful work!!!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Thank you, Hilda.

When I was at the Academy sketching The David on the previous day, a guard I spoke with told me about how the sculpture must be cleaned regularly because of the dust that is brought in with the crowds of people.

I am guessing the ban on using charcoal in the smaller space where I was sketching Michelangelo's "Dawn" sculpture has to do with charcoal dust that might be a problem if lots of people were using the stuff in there. That's just a guess, however.

Susan said...

Just read the last few entries about your trip - wow, Diana, what a wonderful experience. I can't even imagine what it would be like to sketch David onsite! Such a thrill - and your sketch is fantastic!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Thank you, Susan. It was indeed a wonderful experience: one I'd like to repeat and extend!

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Diana,I have been to Florence and share your love of Michelangelo. Reading your account brought back lovely memories.

Your sketches are fabulous, you should keep them forever. Each time you look at them, you will be instantly transported back to Florence.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Carol, thank you. As with many of the pieces I do, it's difficult to know whether to keep them or let someone else enjoy them.

As I was sketching at the Academy, there was interest in buying them from onlookers. Of course they were still in progress and were not even sprayed with fixative yet.

My little journal sketches, like the one in this post, won't be going anywhere, though.