Today we took a long drive to Florence in the morning. After settling in at the hotel we went to one of the most famous art museums in all of Italy, the Uffizi. It is a mainly renaissance art museum, housing many paintings from Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. It’s fascinating how different the people it depicts from the way that people look today. It’s really hard to tell who is a girl and who is a guy. The way that they depict features seems very soft. Today, people like to depict guys as having more angular features whereas for the most part in the paintings we saw today, everyone had relatively similar soft features. The one main difference between guys and girls was that almost all of the girls had blonde hair and the guys always just had brown hair. The tour guide said that the women dyed their hair blonde with urine as a sign of wealth.
This difficulty in distinguishing male from female could perhaps show that there was less of a gender boundary. The only time I could clearly tell what gender people were is when they were completely naked. That’s one time where the genders were completely apparent. This wasn’t all that common though, most people were completely draped in long flowing clothes that concealed their bodies entirely. Any womanly features were completely washed out due to the massive amount of cloth covering them. This could mean that they believed the main difference between man and woman to be completely defined by genitalia. Rather than it being about how one acts or looks, it’s completely dependent upon genitalia. This is very different than how people feel today; today there’s much more about how one acts and much less just the genitals. People can choose their own pronouns and say that they are of some gender that isn’t what they were born with. There’s also the ability to go through gender change procedures. There’s so much flexibility compared to back then. It used to be completely on just sex organs, which in a way is good.
I also noticed that there weren’t any women who were depicted as older in any of the paintings; there were plenty of older men with white hair and balding, but every woman appeared to be young. Perhaps this is because women in society were considered pretty much only good for childbirth, so once they were out of their childbearing years, they basically became meaningless and invisible in society. Men on the other hand are able be useful up until the day that they die. Michelangelo was lived up until he was 89 and was able to be useful for such a long time. If he was a woman after his 40s or 50s he would just basically disappear from society. No children need to be raised, no children need to be birthed. They could assist their children with raising their children, but they still can’t do much else.
It seems like the clothes that they’re wearing is completely impractical though. The clothing drapes over their entire body. I feel like with the Italian climate these clothes would be extremely hot. I also think that it’d be really easy to trip over your clothes.This could show that women in long dress are meant to not be doing anything outside of the house or any physical labor. Whenever men had their robes tied up so that their legs were exposed, this would be so that they could do work. Clothes nowadays are much more functional, but that’s likely due to a change in attitude towards how much skin you’re allowed to show. There’s a very stark contrast in what they think is acceptable. They allow naked women and men in paintings and statues whereas today seeing naked people in art that would be around the house is much less common. At the same time they also had incredibly long clothes that nearly everyone was wearing, which covered almost all skin outside of the face and hands. They were much more open about nakedness, but when they were clothed, they wanted it to cover nearly the whole body. They focused much less on the practicality of the clothes, but rather on adhering to the values that they had regarding clothing and its role in society.