This afternoon the Florence Session II Group visited the renowned Uffizi Gallery after reading de rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) by Lucretius in the morning. Lucretius’s de rerum natura is a didactic poem that demonstrates his Epicurean beliefs. We translated the very first section of the text, where Lucretius invokes and praises the goddess of love, Venus. The poem goes on to describe how nature flourishes when Venus arrives.
In the Uffizi Gallery, Botticelli’s famous paintings, The Birth of Venus and Primavera depict exactly what Lucretius eloquently discusses. Although the paintings are beautiful on their own, the poem brought the stories behind them to life. Here are photos of the Botticelli works:
(Did you know that there was real gold used to paint Venus’s hair?)
Another highlight of the Uffizi Gallery included comparing the Michelangelo painting Buonarroti and the replica of the statue Laocoon and His Sons. The painting is a close-up of Mary Joseph and baby Jesus with other figures in the background, while the sculpture shows Laocoon and his two sons struggling to escape vicious snakes. It was very fascinating to observe that the bodies in the painting mimic the twisting positions of Laocoon and his sons in the sculpture, especially after reading The Aeneid's description of Laocoon's death in my Latin class at school.
After the gallery, we made a quick visit to a paper store which makes all of their paper designs by hand. The owner of the shop even gave us a demo of the intricate process. Then we ended our day with some delicious freshly made pasta for dinner!
By Gabby Herzig