First of all, I felt like I really was in an archeological dog site at the museum. It had a dusty, earthy smell and was dimly lit. I have been to the Egyptian museum in Torino before and it was also dark but more modern and clean. I felt like I as in an ancient Egyptian palace. The Florence museum felt more like someone’s attic that was full of valuable treasures but the presentation could make them look like junk. That being said, it would b good for the museum to clean and update their building because then the artifacts can be what one notices instead of noticing the gloomy building that they are housed in.
Looking at the artifacts in the Egyptian area was by far the most interesting for me. There was a mummy of what appeared to be a child, but was informed later that it was a cat. It was swaddled tightly and neatly, which gave me the impression of how serious the ancient Egyptians took death and after life. I admire them for their willingness to think about the afterlife. In these days, it’s taboo to talk in excess about this subject. There’s so many heated opinions and views about it that now people just stay quiet. I do think that Egyptians might have thought about it too much if people stopped living in the moment and put too much energy into the idea of death instead of living, but those are just my thoughts.
Favorite artifacts: The most impressive piece that I saw was the “Bronze statue of the Chimaera of Arezzo” from St. Lorentino Gate in Arezzo. It is from the end of the 5th- early 4th century b.C. This bronze statue is one of the best known examples of Etruscan art. In 1553, it was found in the ancient city of Arezzo and Cosimo I took it into possession. He proudly put the statue in the Palazzo Vecchio for the public to see and it is said he cleaned it himself.
This exhibit was simply beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photos and ads that Fallai and Armani collaborated to create. Two brilliant minds came together to make stunning images that changed to worlds of fashion and advertising and their interaction with one another. Although each image is unique, there are some trends existing in the exhibit as a whole. I found the expressions of the models to be natural and carefree, encouraging the viewer to not only accept a brand, but also emulate a lifestyle. The subjects being photographed had a way of staring through the viewer, as if trying to peer into something deeper than face value. This depth gives each photograph life and character. It makes the viewer relate to the model, who would otherwise seem like a shallow, soulless face only used to sell a product.
The brilliance behind Armani and Fallai is that they created a look and found a way to capture the look with personality and a sort of “down-to-earth” vibe. The photos evoke a positive emotion in the viewer, taking them somewhere they have always wanted to go. A place of casual joy and endless possibilities.
My favorite image was the one of the woman on the donkey kissing the man walking beside her. There is so much happening in this photo. The most obvious element it contains is romance. However, it also communicates adventure, passion, and freedom. It is as if the viewer saw a glimpse of this couple by accident, caught in a moment. The photo gives the viewer a quick insight into each individual as well as their relationship, which is based on spontaneity and experiencing new things. It also associates the clothing with the durability and high quality ideal for travel, while also exemplifying a chic vibe.
Overall, I enjoyed this exhibit very much. It was inspiring to see the potential power of an image if it is properly planned and executed.
The National Archaeological Museum held a vast array of historical artifacts that gave me a better view of how some Ancient cultures lived and dressed. This museum contained collections of the Etruscans, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
One commonality that I noticed between these cultures was that both men and women would wear clothing that was loose, usually as some form of tunic, skirt, or dress. Footwear was minimal for the most part, if any were worn it was usually some form of a sandal.
Documentation for the styles of these people came in the form of statues, small figures, pottery, caskets, and small artifacts including jewelry. The only culture that strongly emphasized makeup was the Egyptians; both men and women wore it. Headdresses were usually worn as a sign of status, and a variety of materials were used in these societies, including bronze, gold, precious stones, and other tangible materials.
Overall I found this museum to be a very eclectic collection of ancient materials that enlightened my understanding of the different types of clothing and adornment. However, most of the descriptions were of course in Italian so at times it was difficult to follow the collections in the museum.
The archeological museum was fascinating for many reasons! I enjoyed seeing such well-preserved pieces of history that help us better understand the culture in which they existed. Whether pots, weapons, or jewelry, each artifact contributes greatly to our knowledge about the people that were involved in its construction and use. One of the main things I saw from visiting this museum is that even ancient cultures had a similar idea of beauty as ours today. They had an appreciation for clothing, precious stones, rings, and piercings that were aesthetically pleasing and flattering.
The people of ancient times, as seen at the museum, also had similar purposes for fashion. They used it for functionality, unity, and, on the contrary, separation between social classes. Even though there is no set social class distinction in most cultures nowadays, certain items still indicate status and financial well-being. Like this concept of social distinction, almost everything we have today is either based on or a recreation of pieces that were made in ancient times. The people of Egypt, for example, were depicted as having used paint and other mixtures to color their faces, similar to our use of modern makeup. They placed a high value on beauty and material things, so much so that they buried their loved ones in tombs containing a large portion of that person’s possessions.
Another portion of the museum I found interesting was the statue of Minerva di Arezzo and the pieces found right after the statue. The bronze depiction of Minerva di Arezzo showed beautifully the draping fabric that was the style of that time. It was fascinating to see that flowy, draped fabric was most likely a necessary style of dress due to a lifestyle that involved a lot of laying down. The stone carvings in the room after this bronze statue showed poses of relaxation that were complimented by the loose, free silhouette of their clothing. This is an example of the necessary combination of fashion and function.
It was also interesting to see that common motifs used today (flowers, horses, etc.) were also popular in ancient times. The idea of drawing from nature to create a garment or accessory design is nothing new. An appreciation for the natural shapes and colors found on earth has always existed, and it is interesting to see how the interpretation of these natural elements has evolved throughout history, from realistic depictions to the more artistic and abstract representations seen today. Overall, the museum was quite fascinating and I enjoyed gaining a better understanding of the foundations from which our current fashions come. It is vital to have knowledge about the past in order for us to fully comprehend and appreciate the present.
Last week we took a visit to the Pitti Palace and analyzed the costume gallery. It was an eclectic view of the evolution of dress, particularly for women, culminated with a variety of textiles and organized with unique presentations.
Probably the most interesting aspect of this exhibition was it’s eclectic taste and variety of styles. I was surprised to see garments that spanned over several centuries, as well as an overlapping of styles that were used in different decades. Some of the textiles used include sequins, thread woven into fine embroidery, lace, and feathers. I especially appreciated the hat exhibit, which contained styles from the gorgeous to the outrageous. A small portion of the gallery also contained jewelry. I found it interesting that some of the jewelry had a harsher metallic look, giving an unexpected twist to the modern designs.
The last theme of the gallery that stood out to me was the diversity of women’s dress that was affected by female hierarchy. When we looked at some of the older garments from centuries ago, we discovered that women of status were dressed in restricting garments with many pieces, usually made of more valuable fabric. Women of that time with a lower status would wear a similar style, but simplified and more utilitarian depending on the type of work they had to do. In contrast, women of status in a more modern era had the freedom to rebel against the current, form-fitting style of clothing and opt for a more relaxed style or whatever style suited them.
It is needless to say that women played an incredible part in the fashion of the last few centuries, both in the women who designed clothes and the women who wore them. Women continue to evolve the face of fashion to this current day!
The exhibit at the Pitti Palace was fascinating to see and learn about. Most fashion and costume exhibits I have been to are organised by designer. It was interesting to see fashion grouped by owner or donator, much like many art museums group art collections. Displaying the items in such a way communicates the view that fashion is indeed art.
My favourite part of the exhibit was seeing the remains of Eleonora di Toledo’s dress. It was fascinating to witness such a rare piece of Italian history, and nothing speaks to culture and history quite like fashion. We learned about the mistake Eleonora’s lady in waiting made on the very morning of her death. This simple mistake of dressing Eleonora with one stocking inside out played a large role in helping us understand the stitches and how the stockings were made. I also found it amazing that she attempted to reject the invention of mechanical knitwear because she was sensitive to its repercussions among women who earned money from knitting by hand.
Another part of the exhibit I found interesting was the collection involving Paul Poiret. The fact that he was one of the first to do international fashion shows and a fragrance connected to his brand is inspiring. I admire his creativity and savvy business mindset that caused many many others to follow his lead.
Overall, I really enjoyed the exhibit and was amazed at the beauty, detail, and care that went into constructing each and every garment. Each piece tells a story about the designer and the wearer, as well as the point in history in which it was made. We can learn so much about history through fashion, and I loved observing a few pieces that were significant to the evolution of today’s fashion industry.