Thursday, 31 May 2012

Day 8 - A major stroke of luck in Florence

Our first full day in Florence was punctuated by visits to the Uffizi and then to the Accademia Museum with other sightseeing and free time around it. In the evening ten of us met up again and sat down to great social meal and I had proper Italian fettuccine bolognese and vino rosso followed by gelato and it was all quite delicious. Afterwards I opted for an early night followed by a lie in and a late breakfast and felt a bit more human this morning.

Quite by chance Jeff our walking encyclopedia artist companian had spotted some posters for an exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi just two minutes from our Hotel. Entitled Americans in Florence - Sargent and the American impressionists it was just perfect timing as Sargent is an important influence of Zhaoming. So the plan first thing this morning for those of us who hadn't seen it the day before was to check it out. Despite Jeffs enthusiasm my expectations were still greatly exceeded. It was an excellent collection of very well known and some lesser known artists who had all painted in Tuscany. Some of the paintings I was already very familiar with and never thought I would get to see. Cecilia Beaux self portrait has long been a favourite of mine and along with that there was one by Sargent and one by William Merritt-Chase, all three having originally been commissioned by the Uffizi. There were portraits, landscapes, still lives. Oils, watercolours, sketches and some photos from the era. There was work by Duveneck whom I have only just recently been introduced to thanks to fellow blogger Dave, and Mary Cassatt, Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Frederick Childe Hassam, and some important Italian artists who worked alongside these luminaries.

It was just brilliant to have this opportunity on top of all the others thrills to be found in Florence. A perfect day.

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