Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So beautiful I could have wept

We've seen so much incredibly beautiful art since we arrived in Florence that it's difficult to believe that a single piece hidden among so many others could stop me in my tracks, but that it did. It wasn't Michelangelo's David (though his beauty took my breath away) or the delicate frescoes of Masaccio, so beautiful and so historically significant, or Ghiberti's Baptistry doors, magnificent as these "Doors of Paradise" are.


It was a minor piece by Agostino di Duccio (1418-1481). The piece that left me speechless, unable to look away and nearly weeping for joy was a marble relief of a Madonna and Child hanging on a wall in the Bargello Museum. I've seen literally hundreds of works depicting the Madonna and Child in my life and to be honest as a secular Jew the religious impact is pretty much lost on me beyond the historical and socio-political implications, but this particular piece touched my soul. I could have cried at its grace and beauty, the incredible delicacy of the faces, and the way the artist turned cold stone into folds of cloth so soft I had to restrain myself from reaching out to touch them. Mere words on a page could never convey the inner beauty he coaxed from the stone, the life he imbued in it. Photography is not permitted in the art museums, and I felt such a loss at not being able to preserve even a faint memory of the work that had touched me so. What a wonder then to discover that in this internet age all is possible.

I give you "Madonna and Child with Angels", by Agostino di Duccio.

This tiny photograph is merely a pale shadow of the original, but perhaps it will somehow touch your soul in the way that the memory of its counterpart in the Bargello touches mine.


Nancy said...

I'm going to go google it ... looks beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how works of art speak to us and leaves us utterly breathless? I am so happy you are having a great time and seeing such wonderful things. :-)

Gill said...

So beautiful. I can appreciate that in life it must be something grand. Lucky you! Seeing all that delicious, famous art!
Have fun...

Jo said...

Lovely.....there's something for you on my blog.

Pieces of Me said...

It's lovely that this trip is bringing out the best in you ... and in your blogging.