Virtual Museum-going

As an art history professor, you’d think I’d be traveling the world on a regular basis, visiting the important sites and snapping photos for my PowerPoint presentations.

Yeah, right.  Maybe when I publish that book I’ve been meaning to write for about 20 years.

Fortunately for me, I can visit some of the great museums of the world while sitting in my office.

I just visited the Google Art Project, which has some great views of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  I urge you to visit the site, but I’ve reproduced screenshots of two of the rooms I remember best from my one visit there a few years back.

Every semester, I spend some time talking about Giotto and his teacher Cimabue while looking at two of their paintings side by side.  That discussion would be much more fun in this room at the Uffizi!

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Then I “walked” down the hall to the other most memorable room at the Uffizi for me, the Botticelli Room.  Lots of indescribably great works in this room, but the highlight has to be The Birth of Venus and Primavera arranged in close proximity.  I remember sitting on a bench in the rather crowded museum the day I went and just staring at each in turn.  All the meanings Botticelli put into the two works are still debated by scholars, but when you’re there with these two massive masterpieces you really get the message.

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