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Where Did the Semester Go?

April 20, 2012

The best laid plans….blah, blah, blah…you know the rest.

When last I turned my pen (okay keyboard) to write it was February 20 and the subject of that post was “Getting to 1400 (it’s not easy).”

Now with exactly two classes left in the semester–2 1/2 hours total–and 1 hour of that dedicated to presentations, I have accepted the fact that I am not going to get past Benozzo Gozzoli!  I’ll show Donatello’s “Judith and Holofernes” and “Mary Magdalene” but only because I cannot imagine not showing them.   When I start to contemplate the 100s of things that I had hoped to show and discuss I could just cry.   But I won’t because this semester has been a terrific journey and, now that I reflect upon it, rather like this photograph I took in Italy last year.  I didn’t realize, until I was going through photos upon on return, that most of this photograph is out of focus–only a few plants in the foreground are sharp and clear.  Here are some of the places and people that have come sharply into focus for me.

  • The Loggia del Bigallo, just across the road from the Florence Baptistery.  Ground zero for Florentine anxiety in the wake of the Black Death.
  • Vasari’s nasty remarks about Nanni di Banco. Who does Vasari think he is? (That’s rhetorical.  He’s dead.  But I mean really….)
  • Orsanmichele at the heart of Florence in the first two decades of the fifteenth century, not merely a brief shout out with a glance and a copy of St. George on the way to or from the Duomo.
  • Palla Strozzi’s decoration of Sacristy of Saint Nicholas in Santa Trinita and the “mine’s bigger” response of Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici and  Cosimo de’ Medici at the Church of San Lorenzo.

I’m a pretty happy camper as the semester comes to a close because there is still so much to learn.

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2 Comments
  1. I never did care much for Vasari, as a writer or a painter! Self-importance pervades (especially his sense of importance by association). On the other hand he did do us a favor by writing things down.

  2. This photo is perfect! Only the things right in front of you should hold your focus.
    “I didn’t realize, until I was going through photos upon on return, that most of this photograph is
    out of focus–only a few plants in the foreground are sharp and clear….”

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