Within the proverbial blink of an eye, our short and sweet rendezvous in Italy was over. The nine days were packed with activities yet there was a relaxed bite-sized pace to it that made our aching joints happy and expanded our minds just enough so they wouldn’t explode with information overload. We spent a couple days in Cannes and Nice and Genoa where the cool blue-green Mediterranean breeze caressed the hot, swanky bodies on the Riviera and multi-million dollar yachts bobbed on the idyllic playground of the rich and the famous. But it is the magnificent art of Rome and Florence that beckons the soul. Just as Rome was not built in a day so Rome cannot be seen and ingested in a few days! One could literally spend days in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and still be more tantalized than sated. It is a web that one can surf for weeks and be no closer to plumbing its depths or breaking the surface with clear answers. Art here is not just sublime beauty. At the time of its creation art represented religion, politics, culture, secret brotherhood and symbolism of the highest order.
It was the year 1979 when I sat in a literature class on the Renaissance, where one of my favorite profs elaborated on the artistic styles of the sculptors and painters of the era. She was petite and pretty; a salt and pepper chignon rested on the nape of her neck and a hint of black kohl under her eyes shimmered through scholarly glasses. She first introduced me to David, amongst other immortal artworks, including the Last Supper and the La Pieta, impressing upon my young mind the Renassaince glorification of the human body as well as the human brain. She brought alive for me the passionate detail with which the artist approached his art.
In Florence, as I gazed at the naked nonchalance of David time telescoped back almost forty years transporting me to the poignant, goose-bump raising words of a devoted teacher. The marble statue, frozen and immortalized in time. Every muscle rippled as it should; every stretched sinew supporting the stance of that deathless body and every vein throbbing with the same lifeblood that his creator poured into them! In the presence of such haloed art time and tide snaps to a halt and a strange stillness momentarily blocks out the cacophony of the temporal world. The feeling is surreal, it is a like living a dream, no matter how fleeting, how ephemeral the vision is for me, such art is timeless and lives on permanently in the mind of the beholder.
David, I have to come back with more time, more reading and certainly a keener eye so I can fall in love with your cold, stony splendour all over again.