When in Florence: Ancient to Modern Art Museums

Feb 2, 2017 5:30:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Spring2017_From Danya Carithers - Square.jpgDanya Carithers is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A marketing major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Danya explores two of the city's art museums: Gallerie dell’Accademia and an Ai Wei Wei exhibition at Pilazzo Strozzi.

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Although walking around Florence feels like visiting a museum every day in itself, I have already started exploring the Gallerie dell’Accademia and an Ai Wei Wei exhibit at Pilazzo Strozzi. Both museums reflect the wide range of art in Florence with Michelangelo’s David dating back to 1501 and Wei Wei’s art media from this year. 

Gallerie dell’Accademia

I wish I knew more about art history and interpretation to say something intelligent about these world-famous pieces, but I’ll give you my thoughts as an average art onlooker. Seeing David for the first time was truly amazing. First thought: IT WAS SO BIG! I actually looked it up and the sculpture is 17 feet tall (approximately three Danyas stacked up on top of each other).

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My next favorite sculpture was Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women (pictured below). The reason I loved it was not because of some drawn-out lengthy analysis or that it was the most beautiful sculpture I’ve ever seen; it was merely because the description read that Giambologna created the work purely as an example of “excellence in art”.  He was an artist who just wanted to make a good lookin’ sculpture. And he did quite a good job.

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Ai Wei Wei Exhibit at Pilazzo Strozzi

I had never heard of Wei Wei before, but my roommate who’s an art history major asked me to go to the exhibit with her. Explaining Ai Wei Wei is a difficult task because he’s experimented in almost every form of art including photography, sculpture, multi-media, writing, and more. He is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist around issues involving Chinese democracy and human rights. You might have seen some of his work on the national stadium for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. 

The exhibit was set up so that I was able to look at his work chronologically. The first room was lined with some of his photography and footage of his interviews.

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On the second floor were rooms filled with his installations, my personal favorite being the “paintings” made out of Legos. But, what I loved most about Wei Wei was how goofy he was, while still talking about social justice issues.

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I have always enjoyed going to museums both in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, but I am pretty sure this is the peak my museum visiting career. Luckily, there are a lot more museums to visit here in Florence. I am planning to go to another soon because anyone can receive free admission to Italian state museums on the first Sunday of each month! Wish me luck waiting in that long line for the Uffizi!

Thanks Danya!

Danya's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned!

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Topics: Official Bloggers and Vloggers, Florence, Italy, Art Abroad