Just outside the wonderful Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze, another art treasure trove left a long-last impression on me - a covered public corridor, full of amazing sculputres - Loggia dei Lanzi, or Loggia della Signoria.
The best work there was the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus with the Head of Medusa:
Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Bronze, Benvenuto Cellini
This graceful statue, resembles so much of Michelangelo's and Donatello's David, in spite of the materials used. They all shared the same noble disposition, youthful ardor and innocence, yet with some world-weariness. Their bodies polished and elegant, their attitude reticent, their mixed reaction to their defeated opponents, instilled some humility and humanity to these fabled heroes. The sculpture was very detailed and polished, down to the fantastic winged helmet and the less than terrible, twisted body of Medusa. This Cellini creation, along with those of Donatello, were a bit more mannered, less classically restrained, than that by Michelangelo. Weapon raised, a bit more flamboyant and I love it even better.
The other most amazing sculpture was a relative recent one, The Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi, completed in 1865:
The Rape of Polyxena
Pio Fedi in 1865
This story was about the greatest and the handsomest Greek warrior during the Trojan war - Achilles, attempting to taken away the Trojan princess Polyxena. Here, the determined Achilles, struck down Polyxena's brother, presumably Prince Troilus, held her pitilessly with his left hand, and ready to beat back the imploring Trojan queen, Hecuba. The further twist of the story was Achilles let her know his only weakness and she betrayed this secret to her brothers Paris and Deiphobus, and Paris shot and kill Achilles. After the war, the ghost of Achilles demanded the sacrifice of Polyxena.
Such a terrible story. Such a moving monument. The group sculpture was highly dramatic, forming an impressive pyramidal shape, classic and grand. The contours of the bodies, on three levels, guided our eyes from the base all the way to the very tip of the group, the deadly weapon poise to kill. The cleanness of the composition and execution, avoided a tangled terrible mess, and presented us a restrained reaction of an ancient tragedy, instead of a melodrama.
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
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