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14th-Century Florentine Art

Tuesday a friend and I met in Toronto, as we have been doing quite a lot since she came back to Ontario from New Brunswick. Yay! I have my buddy back! So we are able to geek out talking about birds and squirrels, Dr Who and movies and books. And art.

As our membership at the AGO is set to expire soon we decided to go see the current exhibition of early Renaissance Florentine art. Apparently the artists were influenced by the Byzantine Empire, which would probably explain why blue angels and red angels are everywhere. I still haven't figured out the significance of these colours. Why red specifically? I mean, it's not like they couldn't represent pure spirit, for gold leaf was used generously! The Florentines dressed in darker colours, so the bright robes of those in the paintings represent the spiritual realm, and bring the viewer emotionally closer to the action, so to speak.

A very beautiful collection. See examples behind the cut.


Hear a description of the above here.


They have many illustrated manuscripts, pages mounted and the huge tomes in glass cases. Some of these you would need two people to carry (especially if you lived in the 1300s...tiny, weren't they?). Since Florence was the residence of Dante, they even have some of the first illustrated copies of The Divine Comedy! One belonged to one of his family members, and showed the family crest. We spent a lot of time pointing out details to each other, and trying to figure out which saints were being represented. Yes, there were flames and blood and daggers sticking out of shoulders. Also plenty of animals and fruitful trees.


Having a dark background was unheard of before this time, introduced here as the sky went dark at the moment of Christ's death. Very dramatic. Appropriate I saw this just after Easter!

The Getty Museum site has a great online explanation of the entire collection, with lots of audio. You can see it here.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
hindustar
Apr. 4th, 2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
karena
Apr. 4th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
:)
randomdreams
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
I'm not big on bloody crucifixions but that first one is absolutely amazing.
Well, they're both amazing. That one's just beautiful as well.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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