February 16 was officially Presidents’ Day, which shut down all the places I would normally do my research. Instead of rifling through archives I spent half the day in my room writing and the other half schlepping through the National Gallery. Not that I really mind having my brain spend most of its waking hours in the nineteenth century, this was a great mental vacation. The National Gallery is, of course, stuffed with great things to see, but my day took a very Renaissance color. There was a small exhibition on books published in Florence (like the little Vitruvius to the left) that was really great and an extensive exhibition of Piero di Cosimo that I didn’t find totally engaging. Some of his figures seemed a little clunky in the drawing and dim in the coloring–but all is forgiven with the portrait of Giuliano da Sangallo, of that family that drives all students taking Renaissance architecture exams crazy (Giuliano? Antonio? Francesco? The Younger? The Older?). Just look at that portrait on the left (paired with his father). It’s supposedly the first-ever architect’s portrait featuring the tools of the trade. And that color. Oh the color! Wow. On any day, but especially after six weeks of daguerreotype portraits, what a treat.
Vacation (Half-) Day: Renaissance Edition