My dearest fellow art junkies, I feel it’s about time we finish up our European gallerying with a peek and a poke around some of Florence’s art-world hot spots. Over the following minutes (or hours, if you’re a terribly slow reader), I shall show you works from the Palazzo Strozzi (the “De Chirico, Magritte, Max Ernst and Balthus” exhibition, to be precise), the Uffizi Gallery, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. Yes I just switched from English to Italian. What can I say? I’m a talented tour guide.
Please take a moment to turn your mobiles to silent, pick a tour-buddy so that you don’t get lost amongst the paint and alabaster, and make sure you’ve got a chocolate bar on hand. We might need some sustenance along the way.
Now, my tour-ees, what do you think of when you see two birds’ heads (one of which has a string attached to its horns), a hot air balloon, a walnut, and fingers that are not only threaded through with metal spikes but are coming out of a building?
The first thing I think of is the Oedipus myth.
Well, what do you know? I’m right. This painting by Max Ernst is a depiction of the tale of Oedipus. It’s really all very clear, once you stop and think about it. What else would birds and balloons and walnuts signify but a man who sleeps with his mother and kills his father?
(Don’t fret if you can’t make the connection as easily as I. This simply shows why I’m the tour guide and you’re not.)
Next up we have a painting called “The Beach”. In my wise and expert Art Whisperer opinion, I firmly believe that a more apt title would be “Enormous Clown Shoe Made of Woven Plastic That Will Never Biodegrade You Evil Anti-Environment Shoe Company You”. Feel free to write my alternate title down in your notes. It’s a keeper.
I believe I’ve mentioned that, in my non tour-guide hours, I am a PhD student in the field of Sociology. What I haven’t mentioned is that I seriously considered switching to Art History so that I could investigate why the majority of depictions of Baby Jesus make him look like an incredibly ugly half-man-half-child creature. Surprisingly, the above is one of the better depictions, so long as you ignore the strangely bulbous and elongated head.
Now do you see what I mean?
And again. Poor Jesus.
Beware! Alien cows! Don’t let them hit you with their radioactive udders of doom! (Hmm. How did I get from Jesus to dangerous udders?)
And here we have the original Side Show Alley Clown. Win a free Virgin Madonna painting if the ball you pop in his mouth rolls out and hits a Gates of Paradise gold panel!
And last but not least, the scariest Mary Magdalene you ever have seen. Moral of this statue-story: Become a prostitute, and you’ll start to look like a corpse. If there’s one thing I want you to remember from this tour, it’s that simple fact.
(The exit is to your left, people. But do come back someday soon. I might just have some Australian art to interpret for you in the future.)