"I Bend To No One"

Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
Trip End Sep 11, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I would like to thank & acknowledge the following for making my stay in Florence a memorable one:

-My liver for allowing me to succesfully eat almost only sugar, dairy & bread.
-Nutella for making everything better.
-The busker outside of Santa Croce who covered Glycerine by Bush & Cohens Hallelujah.
-The concept of open window fresh air in Italy actually meaning that some Italians cigarette drags envelopes your hotel room.
-Unidentifiable animal parts at the Central Market.
-The potent smell of leather from the market that I can smell from the hotel lobby.
-The act of smelling the leather which distracted me from the step outside the hotel, upon which I promptly twisted my ankle & heard a gag-reflex-producing-pop which made me so sick my hearing went away for about 30 seconds.
-The elderly couple staying at my hotel (American woman, Sicilian man) who met on E Harmony.
-The server at the best gelateria in town who poo pooed my chocolate & limone propsition, only to produce for me the best triple combo in the world (chocolate, nougat, hazelnut).
-The beautiful blind man who was escorted past security lines to feel the statues on Michelangelos grave, a man who suffered blindness himself before his death.

I always love to think about how many geniuses have stood in front of the paintings I see at museums.  Yesterday at Uffizi I stood in front of Titians Venus, who Lord Byron stood in front of  & pronounced as THE Venus.  Even the Donatellos I saw, little Michelangelo stood in front of & marvelled.  As I stood as close as possible to the godesses in Botticellis Primavera Allegory, I whispered to them, "I am closer to you than anyone in the entire Universe RIGHT NOW."

I love to get as close to the pieces as I can, so my brain can start to dissect how the heck it was done.  Put me in front of a van Gogh & I can see practically blobs of 3D paint, you almost have to stand at least 3 feet away to understand whats going on.  But put me in front of a Mignon still life (or almost any Dutch still life for that matter) and my brain goes mad.  It literally looks like someone cut out a photo and pasted it on the canvas. 

Once again I marvelled at how attended the Botticelli room was, as well as the Michelangelo Doni Madonna, & all the other guidebook masterpieces...and then there was Rembrandt Van Rijn, almost entirely alone in a corner of a room.  I walked up to him & talked to him for a bit....and imagined him with me in the chaos of clicking photos & blubbering tourists in the presence of so many masterpieces. And with his plump old man body he hobbled up to me in his humble painting cloak, completely unchanged by the madness around us, indifferent to it, probably annoyed by it.  He reminded me that so many of these master pieces were commissioned by royalty or religious institutions, leaving the artist with lots of money but little creativity.  And then he reminded me that he finally gave up on appeasing others in this way.  On the back of one of his paintings was found the words "I bend to no one." 

There are masters among us, let us take the time to study them & learn from their patience as we turn to our own art works: our minds, a place that only YOU can know, alone with no one else. And as we try to excavate from our past, some of us with darker shades of memory tiles, seemingly too scary to approach, let us get closer & closer until you are right up next to them, peel them off & study them.  Then find a better color to replace it with, make that mosaic the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.  Bend to no one but your inner voice: God.

More photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkfloyri/sets/72157623826140027/
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