Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Musei il Galileo e La Specola, e la mostra Bisonte in grafica d'arte

Over the past week for my sketchbook and printmaking classes I got to go to the Galileo and Specola (natural history) museums, as well as two exhibitions from the Il Bisonte, a renowned school for printmaking here in Florence. Two professors from my school here in Italy (including Lucy Jochambowitz, my printmaking professor) were a part of the show, so it was really interesting to see their work on display. There was a print from each one of thirty students currently attending the Bisonte  that are competing for a scholarship, as well as a print from 30 previous students. There was a wide variety of techniques used for portraits, landscapes, and abstract works and it made me want to experiment with ones that I don't have a lot of experience in. 

The Galileo and Specola museums are two of the coolest places I have ever been to in my life. The Galileo is a museum of contraptions dating back from the Renaissance, that were tools for measuring time, astronomy, velocity, temperature, and a lot of other things that I wasn't sure about. There is one thing I was sure of though, this museum was definitely built by artists for artists. Every detail was carefully thought out to create unity through the entire museum, and every instrument was dynamic and appealing for the eye. Some that really stuck out for me:

 "The Writing Hand", a kinetic motion device shaped like a hand that was programmed to write out the sentence ""Huic Domui Deus / Nec metas rerum / Nec tempora ponat" ["May God not impose ends or deadlines on this house]". 

The Clinometer, which was part of the Medici collection was used for leveling as well as measuring height and distance. I was really interested in this object because of its aesthetic qualities: 

Nocturnals/Sundials/Other Curiosities:

The only two remaining telescopes originally belonging to Galileo are on display here, as well as his fingers (his actual fingers!!!) I didn't get a good image of the fingers so I will save you from having to see that. (If you really want to though, just google it, you'll find it). We have been assigned a drawing with no requirements on inspiration from the museum. Here's the beginning phase of mine (I have decided to just do one post of the rest of it when the semester is over).

The Specola was possibly better than going to the actual zoo, even though the animals were all dead :/ There's no better way for an artist to draw from observation than something that can no longer move. It was odd though, I found the animals to be surprisingly expressive, but maybe this was just due to poor taxidermy skills.  Regardless this museum featured every animal you could possibly think of, including ones that are now extinct. My camera died half way through so I plan on going back to shoot the birds, reptiles, and human wax models. 
For the plant life from the sea they used the drawings and prints of Ernst Haeckel, a biologist who identified and named thousands of species, in addition to samples from life. I had used his work as reference material for my Design 1 course during my freshman year at RIC, so this was particularly interesting to me. 

This evening I went to the Lo Schermo dell'arte Film Festival to see the artist's documentary Inside Out, a collaborative project started by an artist known as JR. His digital portraits reflecting social cultural and political controversy spread to a worldwide awareness project. The film was so interesting! Tomorrow my printmaking professor will take me to Prato to see a film tribute to another modern artist, Sol Lewitt. I love this city, there is always something exciting to do! This experience has made me realize how much I enjoy the city life and want to stay living in a more urban area while I'm young. Friday morning I am heading out for a weekend in Sicily with my friends, which I am super excited about!!! I will post when I get back home, of course. Ciao!

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