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Images from Florence, April 2014

“Florence: Through the Eyes of the Artist” through The Art League (Old Town, Alexandria, VA) with Robert Liberace

What a perfect and memorable trip we had this year in Florence! So many places to see in just eight days, but we managed to pack the week with nonstop art, inspiration and wonderful Italian cuisine! We weren’t able to take photos in all the museums, but some of our excursions are represented in the photos below.

Among the highlights were a visit to the Uffizi art museum, where we saw the great Botticelli painting among others. This was followed by a private tour and walk through the Vasari Corridor, (the kilometer-long hallway above the Ponte Vecchio which enabled the royals and aristocrats to cross the bridge without rubbing shoulders with the masses). The corridor, lined with some of the greatest self-portraits ever painted, can be considered one of Europe’s greatest secret galleries. It is closed to the general public but the tour was arranged by our Italian friend, Morella Monti Belshe, who certainly knows the right people!

Many of us took the opportunity to mount the narrow, winding staircases of Brunelleschi’s Dome to see Vasari’s awe inspiring murals and the spectacular ariel view of old Florence. Carrying on our tradition of visiting great royal residences we visited the enormous Pitti Palace, home of Cosimo and Eleonora De Medici and the vast Bobili Gardens behind their enormous Palazzo.

The Loggia de Lanzi was a perfect place to rest, sketch and take in the beautiful views of the
Piazza Della Signoria and The Palazzo Vecchio where many of us explored during their late night hours.

At the Bargello and The Opera del’Duomo we immersed ourselves in some of the greatest Florentine sculpture ever created. Of course we had to make the obligatory pilgrimage to The Accademia where Michelangelo’s David resides. We also visited the historic Zecchi’s Art Supply store which has been in the shadow of the Duomo since the 19th century, where Signor Zecchi gave Rob a lead stylis to add to his toolbox.

We took in a bit of the Tuscan countryside while visiting the ancient and beautifully preserved hill towns of San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Assisi where we drew, painted, shopped and relaxed. These gems should be on everyone’s bucket list!

Rob took students to the Annigoni Museum and afterwards visitedt the renowned Angel Academy in Florence, where John Angel carries on the classical atelier tradition of painting. He was a student of Annigoni, so it made sense to fit both visits into the same day. John was as warm and welcoming and he could be, and he let us peek in at some of the students in action. Very inspiring!

The final Sunday morning was Easter – the very day that, for over 800 years, Florentines have celebrated the “Scoppio del Carro” by packing into the streets near the Duomo, where a decorated cart pulled by white bulls is placed in the street and lit with fiireworks, in celebration of the liberation of the holy sepulture from the pagans. What a spectactular sendoff for us!

As always, special thanks to Margaret Cerutti of The Art League for her heroic efforts to arrange and make this trip special for all, and to May Gwinn for all her help with planning. Finally, thanks to Mirella for our lovely tour of the Vasarri Corridor.

Images compiled and taken by Robert and Lina Liberace, Alan and Gail McCurry, and Ed Stolar.


Our private tour of the Vasari Corridor










Self portrait of Annigoni


Florence street artist who we later found out is on Rob’s Facebook group page!



At the Florence Accademia


Off to the hill towns!


Meeting up at the Accademia


Michelangelo’s David, in the Accademia Gallery


The group drawing in the Accademia Gallery


A view looking west from the Vasari Corridor


On the steps of the Duomo




The Tornabuoni Chapel at Santa Maria Novella


Massacio frescos in the Brancacci Chapel



Gothic window at Orsanmichele


Window shopping in Florence




A visit to Zecchi’s Art Supply store. Here Signor Zecchiis giving Rob a lead stylus.



Viewing Ghiberti’s original “Doors of Paradise” in the Opera del Duomo


The group gathered at the hotel to discuss the trip.


Marie and Jill spend some time sketching in the courtyard of the Bargello museum.
As you can see, Ava found that it was more fun play!!


Il Pescatore by Vincenzo Gemito


Jill sketching at the Bargello


A statue in the courtyard of the Bargello


Looking out of one of tne of the “winows” as we climbed to the top of the Duomo.


The Duomo



A breathtaking view from the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome (The Duomo).


A view of Florence at sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo (a few of us took a quick bus trip out to see this view but missed the “light” by just a few moments).


The spectacular veiw as we entered the hilltown of San Gimignano



Terry, Celia and Marie strike a post on one of the walls surrounding San Gimignano.


The towers of San Gimignano


San Gimignano shop


Sketching in Monteriggioni.



Stephanie showing us how it’s done!


Rob with John Angel of the Angel Academy


Touring the Angel Academy. One of the students shows us her cast drawing.


A cast drawing at the Angel Academy.


We see several of Rob’s demos on display!


John Angel brought us in to see a class of students doing life drawing.


This third year student is from Maryland. We were amazed by the quality of work!


Viewing paintings in the Angel Academy.


Admiring the floors (and ceilings) of the Pallazzo Vecchio



Frescos in the Pallazzo Vecchio



Street in Assisi


Looking through a courtyard in Assisi


Ava finds Pinnochio in Assisi


Gathering at the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace)


Stephanie and Alice


One of Rob’s favorite sculptures in he modern art gallery of the Pallazo Pitti: I Parassit by Achille d’Orsi.



Galeria del’ arte moderna at the Palazzo Pitti






View of Florence


San Gimignano


Susan and Marie sketch from the high wall surrounding Monteriggioni.


View on a side street of Florence.


The wisteria arches of the Academia


While squeezing our way through the masses at the Easter Festival, Scoppio del Carro, a young man asked “Aren’t you Rob Liberace?” He was from the Florence Academy and said that rumor had it that Rob was going to make an appearance.Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the plans this time, but there’s always the next trip!


Easter Sunday  morning during the “Scoppio del Carro” fireworks at the Duomo


While squeezing our way through the masses at the Easter Festival, Scoppio del Carro, a young man asked “Aren’t you Rob Liberace?” He was from the Florence Academy and said that rumor had it that Rob was going to make an appearance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the plans this time, but there’s always the next trip!


One of the many costumes at the Easter celebration.



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