Porter Julian

149 Paintings You Really Should See in Europe — Venice and Florence

This chapter from Julian Porter's essential companion to all the major European museums and galleries discusses some of the greatest paintings to be found in the museums and galleries of Florence and Venice. His passion for art began with the seven years he spent as a student tour guide in Europe. In this segment he discusses works by masters such as Tintoretto, Botticelli, Veronese, and many more.

In the usually pretentious arena of art connoisseurs, Porter's voice stands out as fresh and original. He finds the best of the best, which he describes with entertaining irreverence, and spares you hours of sore feet and superfluous information.
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    Botticelli is the star of the Uffizi. He became the painter of youth, spring, and flowers. Up until the time he created this work, religious subjects had been his main focus. Then the pagan spirit, evoking Wagner’s Siegfried, came to the fore. Here living images of human desire sway in a fragile dance.
    The painting presents images of happiness that will leave you in a reverie as you absorb the scene. The flowers strewn on the ground coax the mind to create a perfume. For me, this painting represents the Renaissance: imagination, motion, myths, hurtling nature, the feel of change, the mystery of growth, the fragility of time.

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