In Florence: When Art met Religion

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(written on April 1, 2016 in Florence)

“Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and birthplace of the Renaissance, is home to masterpieces of art and architecture. One of its most iconic sites is the Florence Cathedral, with its terra-cotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and bell tower designed by Giotto. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David,” while the Uffizi Gallery exhibits preeminent works such as Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.””    Wikipedia

There is no doubt that Florence is a city which best resembles the meaning of luxury. From the Uffizi Gallery to the Florence Cathedral, or from the fashionable clothing brands to the fancy cuisines, Florence has become a city which exudes style and beauty.

One truly only understand the meaning of luxury when he or she injects self into the experience. I had a chance to travel around the city for the second time, and yet this experience is vastly different from the last time. Instead of purely admiring and adoring the apparent luxurious place, I began to question about the origin of such richness.

Religion has a huge influence in the world. In Europe, Catholicism rose in prominence since Christ period, particularly as the great Roman Empire took in the religion in its prime period (first two centuries) and hence the facilitated spreading of the religion across the European region. Particularly in the Middle Age period, despite the fall and end of the empire, churches had an significantly role in Europe and certainly Italy, the headquarter of the religion. In Florence, a majority of the historical architecture and artwork were the results of the church’s expansion and development.

When in Uffizi gallery, I came across with many galleries contributed to the Catholic leaders or the churches at the time. From what I saw, I wondered if it is the fact that those working to learn a living were in the different levels of reinforcement to create artwork related to the religion so as to get funded by the church. Despite the occurrence of Renaissance which became one of the first awaking rebel forces against the church, many continued to extensively draw religious artwork.

While being fascinated by the superficial beauty of the artwork, I became more aware of such great length of the church influence on every aspect of people’s lives. When the religion’s meaning making stays only on maintaining and defending its power and growth, the system can easily fall under misuse and manipulation of the privileges.

Has the creation of art and grandiose architecture been the result of religious faith, or the projection of the human materialistic desires onto God’s will? I think both are true.

And hence as seeing the exhibitions and sightseeing places, I have been under the bitter sweet feelings – how can I fully appreciate the buildings when I am clearly aware how much has been spent, especially even now so as to maintain the “impressive landmark left from the past”. This feeling resonates with my previous sharing in Germany on the meaning of art. Across my journey, I think my strong opinion towards meanings making in contrast with humanity has been imprinted more in depth. Any forms of philosophy, belief or ideas should be well scaled with humanity.

I wonder about my next journey to Rome and Naples.

#florence #italy #art #humanity #religion #Catholicism #Catholic #reflection #traveling #sharing

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