Sunday, August 01, 2004

July 29, Thursday

I went back to the Uffizi today, and there was still no access to the Rubens rooms. That makes three tries with no success.

I was deeply impressed by many paintings. I noticed some things this time that I had not seen or noticed before.

I got a peak through the closed-off entryway at the three Rembrandts, I felt like kneeling and kow-towing, even after everything I had seen up until that point. Rembrandt stands in a completely characteristic place. By saying that, I mean that when I look at Rembrandt, no other painter exists. There is no comparison happening, or possible, really.

Uccello's Battle of San Romano, again. Such a wonderful work. Something in no way limited by the time it was painted in. The design is very abstractly conceived and somehow very personal. The animals are wonderful! The ones jumping and running in the background as well as the horses in the fore. This painting makes me happy, and at the same time convinces me of the bond I share with such artists of all times and places who felt their own lives and beings in a simple and human way.

Today Colleen and I looked a long time at Giotto's Madonna and baby Jesus with saints and angels. We both saw more in it than we had before. By taking time to admire Cimabue's rather similar alterpiece, I was able to see the brilliance and lightness of the color shapes, the spatial depth, and, of course, the humanity of the faces of the figures. Giotto changed everything. These qualities have been picked up by painting as a whole and were first unearthed here, by Giotto. He practically invented composition in Western art, based on what I have seen.

I spent a long time in front of Titian this time. A late work, St. Margaret, had that incredible quality of his, at once dreamlike and very real, somehow sensible with something more than the eyes.


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