Sunday, January 12, 2014

Florence 20.12.13: Little David and Distrait Mary

Fra Angelico Crucifixion, San Marco, 20 Dec. 2013

Sitting in the busy, noisy Santa Maria Novella station (which has one pitiful banquette for the entire galumphing place, a banquette on which my big posterior is barely perched). We're awaiting our 12:10 train to Assisi.

A nice supper last night in the room, the things we had bought at the Central Market along with the cheese and breads and sausage we've brought from Bolzano, and delicious wizened little apples from the Feichter Hotel, which kept a bowl of them in its lobby for guests to take.

The eggplant especially delicious, thinly sliced and friend in olive oil and garlic. The porcinis turned out to be marinated in a light lemon and olive oil dressing, and were also good.

With the supper, we shared (as in, I had one glass and Steve the rest) a bottle of the Magdalener wine Steve had bought from the nice man who sold us Ultner bread at the Bolzano farmers' market. Since we had Tuscan red wines with meals the last two days (the house reds at the pizza place two evenings ago and the trattoria yesterday), the S├╝dtirol red seemed thin. The Tuscan wines, by contrast, robust, full of flavor, tasting of earth and grape and sun.

This morning to the Accademia to see David. We had reservations for 8:30, though this was another case where it turned out we could have well stood in the short ticket line, where we'd have been the only non-Japanese visitors and would have gotten in just as quickly as if we hadn't bought the more expensive reservations.

Still, it happened we had the David entirely to ourselves for a few minutes, and could stroll around it and look carefully without jostling anyone.

When we arrive, a museum docent sitting in his chair looking up at David as if they have an understanding, a pose similar to that of someone praying before a holy statue.

What to say? The power of the piece, the exquisite, elegant detail of the hands with veins running across their surface, and of the hair, the slightly pensive, even cautious gaze of little David as he confronts huge Goliath.

We strolled around and found the medieval pieces interesting, the room of Roman busts piled high astonishing, even amusing--an ancient bourgeois photo gallery.

Then on to San Marco and the Fra Angelico murals, which stirred me less than I had expected, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps an overload of world-class art in two short days? As if one has gorged on fried goodies, sweets, every delicious pasta available, all at one big banquet splurge.

I did enjoy seeing the Annunciation fresco, the delicate color, the multicolored wings of the angels, the slightly distrait and shocked look of Mary.

And now Maria Novella and the shifting departure board scrolling above, as disembodied voices announce train arrivals and departures. Of the 10 arrivals now posted on the board, 7 note that they're delayed, some for half an hour--which I suspect is a euphemism for, It comes when it comes.

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