From Pisa I cycled along the Arno to Florence, which was easy going apart from the last bit where there were some hills that simply didn’t make any sense. But they were there nevertheless..
The reason that so many young Americans come to Italy is that they serve American food. Pizzas can be found on every street corner and high caloric icecream is readily available as well. Only too bad the Italians speak the worst American in the world…
In this cradle of the Renaissance I spent endless hours on the Piazza della Signoria to sketch Michelangelo’s statue of David. It’s not actually Michelangelo’s, but a copy that is positioned outside the Palazzo Vecchio where it originally stood before it was moved inside the Academia, where you have to pay money to see it. The outside location can be seen for free and it has the advantage that one can observe the amazing details as the revolving sun (revolving earth, I know) slowly projects shadows and in this way shows subtle curves, that you don’t see when it’s illuminated by a constant light source.
For some reason I couldn’t make a satisfactory sketch of David and it almost became an obsession, but in the end I had to admit failure. I couldn’t do David. Every time there was something wrong. In the beginning I drew the legs too short and it took a while to figure that out. Then the left arm that holds the sling was the problem. The right size and angle in relation to the torso. It drove me mad. A girl that was sitting next to me for a while, made me a compliment. It really looks good, she said. She must have been suffering form river blindness or some other affliction of the eye, because she was looking at poor David where Picasso had contorted the face and twisted the legs and Modigliani had elongated the torso.
Entrance to the Uffizi was free on the first Sunday of the month, so I had to wailt a while to admire the famous works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Boticelli, Titian and Caravaggio. There were a few Rembrandts but they were dull and dark.