Yesterday morning was interesting in that I started off waiting at the wrong church for our morning history lesson. It turns out there are 5 churches within 3 blocks of where I am staying. Once at Basilica San Lorenzo, a very modest building from the outside, we headed into the museum in its basement. Although dark, there were many fascinating things to be found including the grave of Donatello, the family tree of the Medici's and a large pillar serving as the Tomb of Cosimo the Elder. One of the big guys of the Medici family, who's legacy is apparently strong enough to hold up the entire church.
The significance of the Medici's is found everywhere you look from the tomb monuments to the commissioned architecture and the elaborate décor, all done in marble of course. As you walk by the elaborate works of artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Vasari and Brunelleschi you begin to think of the works as shadows themselves, in that they serve as traces of the great minds that once occupied the space you are in. Think in this way would imply that our shadows are our legacies.
Back then it would seem that people wanted their shadows to be grand, but in a time where we need to reduce our consumption of resources, is it ethical to design such opulent legacies / shadows? Does this mean that today's artists and designers will always live in the shadows of such Masters in that they were of a time where economic responsibility and the depletion of resources were of little concern?
As we walked through the baptistery we learned that some of the marble can no longer be found as it was used all up during those times. I also learned that when we are able to see an artist's corrections within a drawing it is referred to as "penti menti", sort of translated as visual regrets. Again, this idea sort of related to shadows for me as we can see traces of the artists process or movement within the work.
After our tour we went to a lovely patio for lunch where I had the most exquisite mussels. Here we learned more about one another's personal shadows over bread, water and wine.
From there I headed to the market to get some fresh basil for the tomatoes I bought yesterday and then packed up some things to take to the studio before heading to the train station to meet Geoff.
After walking around the Duomo to share in its magnificence, we enjoyed sharing fresh stone oven pizza, wine and gelato before retreating to the apartment for some much need sleep. Of course I woke up at midnight and began to think / reflect / critique the project I had started, and so began my four hours of lying awake listening to the sounds of Florence at night while pondering my thesis. I wonder what revelations today will bring?