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    The Uffizi

    By on February 28, 2014 in Italia! with No Comments

    The Effuzi in Firenze, ItalyWhile in Firenze I visited the Uffizi. This is a huge building built-in the 1500’s to create offices for the Florentine magistrate. Uffizi actually means “offices” in Italian. It now serves as a huge museum containing priceless paintings and sculptures originally collected by the Medici family who were the family of power in Florence during much of the renaissance, though they never actually ruled in an official sense. Kind of like the Koch brothers.

    In typical Italian fashion, I first had to go to a separate building where I waited in line and eventually received the entrance tickets. I then took the tickets back to the real Uffizi where I inched my way in line through the entrance where I was confronted by very official looking TCA-style security guards. I had to remove all of my bodily possessions and place them in a container which slowly made its way through an x-ray machine AND then we had to step through a metal detection doorway, just like at the airport, except they didn’t ask me to remove my shoes. It never occurred to them that I could be carrying a small, plastic permanent black ink felt pen sandwiched between my toes, with nefarious intentions.

    After going through security I ascended two long, wide marble stairways that eventually lead to the main floor of the museum. There is a huge hall that circumvents the many large interior rooms that contain the many works of art. Lining both sides of the high walls are hundreds of portraits all side-by-side with the person’s name displayed on the frames representing a virtual who’s-who of the renaissance. It reminded me of my old baseball card collection as a kid. “I’ll trade you my Galileo for your Leonardo da Vinci rookie card.”

    The immense influence of the Catholic Church on the artwork is blatantly obvious. They commissioned or had their fingers in most of the Renaissances artwork in all of Florence, and Italy for that matter. There are overanunciation 100 renditions of the Annunciation; the bible passage where Mary gets the news from an angel that she is pregnant with the lord’s child. In some, she is happy. In
    others, she is looking a bit pensive, and in a few she is looking downright pissed off. I liked these.


    The Birth of Venus is probably my favorite piece in the whole museum. It is very impressive. I want whatever Botticelli was on when he painted that.

    I was also struck by all the Madonna and Child works depicting the baby maddonaandjesusJesus as a fat, ugly baby. Is that sacrilegious of me? In fact, I honestly think that most of the babies and cherubs in these famous works of art looked more like chubby, 60-year-old dwarfs, with a hint of a mustache, than cute little newborn babies, (my apologies to dwarfs).

    But Is It Art?

    Before leaving the museum I went down to the restrooms in the basement. I walked into the spacious men’s bathroom and saw, in a separate area to the right, what appeared to be a very fancy urinal. It was a wall containing a mosaic of marble and stone with a thin layer of water trickling down the entire surface. At the base was a large, steel, rectangular grate. Through the grate I could hear water moving through like a small brook. The wall itself was spot lit giving it a very stylish, arty look.

    I was all alone, so I parked myself right in the center of this work of art and proceeded to relieve myself directly on the wall. While peeing, I started to think that it was a bit odd that in a crowded museum I would be all alone in the men’s room. I suddenly had a horrifying feeling, like you get in those dreams where you find yourself naked in front of a huge room full of people. It suddenly occurred to me that I may be desecrating a piece of modern art. There are signs posted all over Firenze warning that it is a serious offense to deface or desecrate any work of art, or something to that effect. “Why would they put a work of art in the men’s room?” My mind started racing. “We charge you with desecration, in the foulest manner, of a priceless work of art in the Uffizi Museum. How do you plead Americani?”

    I slowly looked over both of my shoulders to see if there was anybody standing behind me, staring in disgusted disbelief. I quickly finished up and ran over to the sinks, confident in their intended function. I then, still holding on to a shadow of doubt, swiftly and quietly slunk out of the restroom and blended in with the other tourists upstairs in the gift store.

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