Art, Art, and more Art

Hello all! After spending three days in Milan, we departed from our Ibis hotel this morning and took a three and a half hour coach bus ride to Florence, Italy. My friends and I were more than excited to experience another part of this beautiful country. Proceeding the long trip, we all unpacked and headed to Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous art museums in Italy. The style of the people depicted in the paintings at the Uffizi Gallery was noticeably different both in utility of the clothing and gender trends, if you compare them to modern-day style. Also, I noticed that different clothing colors serve as symbols in the paintings. Colors symbolize things such as personality as well as what or what not that person has done in their life. In addition, when we arrived in Florence, I observed the theme global/national environment. I first realized this when speaking with a worker at a restaurant. He asked me several questions about the United States past election in November. It almost seemed to me as if he cared more about our presidency than their own government activity. I then observed this theme when we were given our tour because, economically, Florence flourishes because of the many tourist attractions that it offers.

When walking through the Uffizi Gallery, I quickly noticed from the first couple of paintings that the way people dressed at the composure time of these paintings does not  resemble what we wear today whatsoever. In the paintings, women often wore loose robes of either plain color or of an extremely intricate design. In addition, many of the women were concealed in fabric, exposing zero to no skin at all. This style is parallel to many present day eastern countries, as their culture is focused more on conservative clothing, and polar opposite to how women dress in the United States. Today, in the United States, the style is slowly transforming to be much less conservative, where women expose a fair amount of skin when dressing. Men wore both tights and robes in the paintings, which also differs completely from present day American culture. In present day United States, men usually wear a suit and tie when dressing properly. Essentially, the proper outfit for men centuries ago of robes and tights is equivalent to a suit and tie outfit in the United States today. Another small difference that I noticed was the steel war gear of the men in the paintings. Rather than steel, todays soldiers wear a much lighter fabric in order to have more ventilation as well as reduce the weight that a soldier must carry when in combat.

Symbolism seemed to be of high importance to the artists of the paintings as well. Repeatedly we saw the Virgin Mary in either a red or blue robe when cradling Jesus. These two colors represent purity. Another symbolic color is black, the symbol of death. Black was rarely portrayed in paintings as it was often not even allowed to be used. There were also symbols specific to women. If the hair of women was styled and jeweled, it exemplified that that woman was married. If the woman wore her hair long and down that represented a single status. Finally, if a woman had her belt tied near her breasts, that indicated that she was pregnant. Today, some colors do still have similar meanings such as black, meaning death, but often colors are not worn to symbolize something, but rather worn for style. Utility wise, other than the robes keeping the people warm, ancient clothing does not serve much of a purpose. Today, clothes are multi purposeful. For instance, we have pockets to carry anything we need in an efficient way. We have hoods and gor tex jackets to shield us from rainfall. Lastly, clothing today can be worn in several different ways such as zip on and off attachments. For example some pants can be zipped off to become shorts.

It was great to experience another Italian culture today. Florence was much more active and lively than Milan was. Personally, this type of atmosphere appeals more to me as I enjoy when there is always something going on. Also, Florence has a Duomo equivalent to the size of the one in Milan, however, this one is made of three different types of marble, making it an overwhelmingly beautiful structure.

Today, I observed the theme global/national environment firstly when I went to lunch after arriving here. At lunch, we were easily spotted as tourists, and luckily, the owner spoke enough broken english for us to have a short conversation with him. One of the first topics that he brought up was the last election in November. He asked several questions about whether or not I liked Trump, who I voted for, and what current actions he was doing as our new president. Dr. Patzer warned us that Italians would be interested in topics such as this, and I got to experience it first hand. It taught me that current political trends in Italy and possibly even in other European countries, are focused not on their government, but on the United States government and politics. I also noticed the global/national environment theme on the tour of the Uffizi Gallery. The tour guide informed us that about eighty percent of all European art is located in the city of Florence. This showed me that the economic factors that face Florence is touristic money, as the beautiful Duomo, art, and several other sites attract millions of people per year. The money brought in from tourists annually, powers this city.



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