Bits and bods

The rediscovery of classical forms of sculpture by the renaissance artists created some of the sculptures most familiar to us today, as they have transcended their origins and entered our consciousness through their use (and abuse) in our popular culture.
Who doesn’t instantly recognise Michelangelo’s David?

Okay, maybe not so recognisable from the back…but surely, from the front?

Of course, this isn’t the REAL David. He was moved from this spot to inside the Accademia museum in 1873, and replaced with this copy.

In fact, with many of the sculptures that are out in the open in Italy, you are never quite sure if you’re looking at the original or a replica.

Piazza della Signoria’s statues are a mix of both and the Piazza forms a wonderful open-air gallery. (And free! What a bonus…).

The statues are all larger than life, and (quite obviously) generally naked.  The girls were fascinated when we visited Palazzo Pitti (that’s to come in a later post) and they discovered that nearly all the male sculptures in the rooms there were missing their…ahem…appendages. Snapped right off.

This led to a discussion about the ‘fig-leaf campaigners’ of the Counter-Reformation and how they considered such displays to be immoral, so went around removing said bits and replacing them with fig leaves. The fig leaves have since been removed, but the damage underneath remains.

Ah, travel…it opens up all kinds of information and experiences to kids.  I can’t wait to hear how The Impossible Princess retells this story if the topic ever comes up at school.

The Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati
Bartolommeo Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus

Remember what I said about popular culture? The Impossible Princess was able to correctly identify the following sculpture as a direct result of watching the movie, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief.

Okay, so she didn’t know it was by Benvenuto Cellini, but she did know it was Perseus and that he was holding up Medusa’s head.  Plus she knew how and why Perseus had to slay Medusa.

Why are we paying school fees? We should just get a season-pass to the Blockbuster Video shop.

The next sculpture wasn’t in the Piazza, but inside the Palazzo Vecchio (of the previous post). We all laughed out loud at this one of Hercules and Diomedes by Vincenzo de’ Rossi (also known as Hercules and Antaeus)

It hasn’t photographed particularly well here…but I’m sure  that’s not a WWF-approved wrestling hold!

(For a better look, check this link)

Tomorrow…a restaurant recommendation
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