The atmosphere was cloudy and the rain was coming down in torrents as we walked out of the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station. We were looking forward to our stay in enchanting Florence and our spirits were at all-time high and unfazed by the rain and the gloomy weather. We had spent a couple of days romancing the magnificent sights of Rome and we had Florence in our sights.
We felt the hunger pangs gnawing at the entrails of our stomach as we had started in the wee hours of the morning and had not had breakfast. We spotted the welcoming sign of a McDonald’s outlet across the road from the station and quickly ran through the spray of rain into the shelter of McDonalds.
Some time later, after being fortified with some steaming French Fries and Burgers we checked into our hotel and embarked on our exploration of Florence. This beautiful city and capital of Tuscany was in the epicenter of the Renaissance, a period of European history when art and literature flourished with a brilliance that banished the darkness of the preceding Middle Ages. Even today, as you move in the city of Florence, you can feel the presence of the masters of the Renaissance movement like Michael Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, among others.
One of the primary reasons that had drawn us to Florence was Michael Angelo. This artist who seemed to wield the hand of God when sculpting miracles from stone and painting masterpieces with the strokes of his brush had truly touched our hearts. We had been stunned by divine ecstasy looking at his labor of love in the Sistine Chapel and while in Florence we wanted to have a glimpse of his David, which is considered as one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture. We were also touched by a Hollywood movie about Michael Angelo, called The Agony and Ecstasy and wanted to visit the homeland of this great artist.
It was afternoon when we found ourselves among a motley crowd of tourists making our way into the Galleria dell’Accademia. After sauntering through a few halls filled with sculptures which were masterpieces in their own right, we, at last, entered the hall where stood the magnificently elegant figure of David. As we entered the hall we could feel a palpable sense of excitement in the air. There was a hush in the hall as people reverently stared at the center of attraction. There he stood, a 14 feet marvel in marble. The words of the famous Italian Painter Giorgio Vasari sprang to our minds as we beheld one of the most beautiful sculptures in the world.
“When all was finished, it cannot be denied that this work has carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin; no other artwork is equal to it in any respect, with such just proportion, beauty and excellence did Michael Angelo finish it”.
We stared in awe at the perfection of the sculpture, we were stunned to see the detailing of the sculpture which showed even the bulging veins in the hands of David. The nude statue of David seemed to be the epitome of elegance and perfection and we could feel our hair stand on end as we were swept away by waves of bliss. Marveling at this triumph of human endeavor and the ingenuity and creativity of one man, we reluctantly made our way out of the hall. But the few moments that we spent looking at the masterpiece of Michael Angelo, somehow seemed to bring us closer to him, it was almost as if we could hear his heavy breath as he wielded his hammer and chisel to sculpt poetry from a slab of marble.
It was a pity we could not take pictures of David as photography is not allowed. But on second thoughts, it does not matter, as no photograph, no painting can measure up the experience of seeing David live in marble.
We left the Accademia humbled, and filled with an inexplicable internal joy, the same kind of feeling that you get when you leave a spiritual place. We felt we had accomplished our mission in Florence.
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