Powerful, too powerful to behold
Before we made our first trip to Italy, I read several books about Renaissance art and history. One of books was the “Season of Giants: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael” by Vincenzo Labella. In the book, Vincenzo Labella told an intrigue story of how the David statue was transported to the place for display:
“It took 28 months of furious activity to complete marble David.
To transport the monumental statue from Michelangelo’s workshop to its elected destination, a carefully devised cage had to be constructed. Suspended with thick hemp ropes inside its strong wooden bens, the David, standing fifteen feet high and weighting several tons, was pulled out of the workyard, to let it pass through the gateway, the arch above it had to be broken… It began its journey at midnight on May 14, 1504…
It arrived in the square on the 18th at noon; it took about forty men to move it, with fourteen beans underneath it to let it roll on, and the beams were moved with each step. It took until the 8th of June to set it up on the steps of the palace.”
When we arrived in Florence, the Academy Gallery was the first place we wanted to visit. We tried to get there early in the morning and thought we’d beat the crowd. But, the long waiting line started long before we got there. While waiting, we chatted with a gentleman who was with his two teen grandkids. He told us that he and his wife used to come to Italy once a year; after his wife passed away, he decided to bring his grandkids to Italy every year. He thought that they would remember the trip and appreciate what they learned from the trip someday. He then asked if we had been Italy before, I replied that it was a trip of our lifetime. He said, “I think you probably will come back again and again after this trip…” I still remember his smile vividly.
When it was our turn to approach the statue, I was numbed like everyone else. A while later, I let the story of the “three Renaissance giants” play in my mind…
As Labella described in the book that the David was “Powerful, too powerful to behold”. Indeed.
The gentleman was right, we kept going back to Italy again and again after our first trip to Italy.
“The language, history, art, and places in Italy are endless—two lifetimes wouldn’t be enough.” — Frances Mayes “Under the Sun of Tuscan”
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