I returned home from Italy last night after a 12-day whirl wind of travel - first to Rome, then up to the majestic Tuscan hills, then back to Rome and staying inside a convent for several days (no, I'm not Catholic - just curious.)
Before I left for Italy, I spoke with a young artist who had traveled to Italy while studying art in college. She spoke about the renewed inspiration for her art that she found in Florence, a place I ended up visiting for one day last week. I can see why she felt that way.
The Uffizi Gallery, located in the heart of that glorious yet frenetic city, could give any artist or creative person a dose or two of spark. But perhaps "spark" is too mild a term. I think I'll call it "lightning." This gallery contains the greatest overall collection of Italian paintings anywhere in the world. It offers visitors a look at art treasures from Medieval times to the Renaissance. I had read about and seen some of these works over the years in books - art by Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli. "How did they do this?" I wondered. The detail, the sheer size of the canvases was beyond comprehension. No matter where I stood - whether far away or close to a painting - the passion for what these artists did was evident in every brush stroke.
As I strolled from room to room, the beauty of it all overwhelmed me. It was just too much. At one point, as I walked down one of the long hallways of the Uffizi, I stepped aside and wept. And, yes, just like that young art student, I became inspired.