Art Italy

Florence, Italy: It’s All About the Art

And other observations during a two-night trip to Florence

Excuse me, but how did this post that I published on a few years back not make it onto my blog?! Here it is, regardless. (In case you’re wondering how I figured out about the literal missing link… it’s because in attending a class to prepare for another trip to Italy in May, I started scrolling through my previous posts, and dear old Florence was missing. Not anymore.

My daughter spent three months living in Venice in 2017 as an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a small, yet world-renowned modern art museum located on the Grand Canal. Her time there was magical, challenging, beautiful, and life-changing. During her last week in Venice, she and three of her intern friends spent three days in Florence, home to 705,000 residents and located on the Arno River in central Italy. Since her return, we’ve enjoyed many conversations about her time in Italy.

The interview answers are just the two of us talking; see the photo captions for more detailed notes and facts about her trip.

Marilyn Yung

How far is Florence from Venice? It’s about a two-hour train ride. We left from the Santa Lucia train station around eight o’clock and got to Florence mid- to late morning.

What did you do first? When we got there, the first thing we did was walk to find our Airbnb. After dropping off our bags, we confirmed exactly what we wanted to do over the next few hours. On the train, we had talked about what we wanted to do. Our goal was to see as much art as possible — obviously, we were in Florence — and there were five or six major things that we knew would require extra planning and waiting in lines for. We had looked up the opening hours of all the museums, cost, and the amount of time to plan for each one. We didn’t give ourselves time to meander.

So what was first on your itinerary? The first thing we went to was the Medici Riccardi Palace. It’s got three levels of distinct architecture (see the caption for photo below). The palace is absolutely huge and nearly impossible to photograph from the outside.

This photo shows the exterior of Medici Riccardi Palace in Florence. The bottom level is rough in keeping with the era’s sumptuary laws that forbade ostentatious displays of wealth. Building of the palace began in 1444. The second level looks less rustic and the third displays a more refined, smooth texture on the stone. By Yair Haklai [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons

What was next? The Medici Chapel. Absolutely incredible! The exterior is very misleading. It doesn’t look that big on the outside but then you go inside and it’s massive! The inside uses a really dark marble pretty much throughout. The dome is painted in frescoes. There are relics everywhere. The chapel is covered in ornate paintings. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Inside the Medici Chapel’s Chapel of the Princes mausoleum, built from 1604–1640. The mausoleum reveals the dark stones and marbles used on the interior. Sourcing such rare stones caused the construction of the Medici Chapel complex to span two centuries. | Photo: K. Yung
Frescoes painted in 1828 by Pietro Benvenutti adorn the dome of the Chapel of the Princes mausoleum. The Medici family dynasty ruled Florence for several centuries. The dome features scenes from the Old and New Testaments. | Photo: K. Yung

So after the Medici Chapel, what did you have for lunch? We went to a little cafe that was very good. I decided to try gnocchi for the first time. Gnocchi are soft dumplings made from potatoes. They can be made from other things like flour or cheese, but potato gnocchi are the most popular. I really had no idea whether I would like it or not and it was very good. I followed that up with a lemon and mint gelato, which was amazing.

It’s hard to believe, but this is lemon-mint gelato. | Photo: K. Yung

And then? After that, we went to The Brancacci Chapel. It’s part of Santa Maria del Carmine church. The main purpose to seeing this chapel, other than the architecture, was Masaccio’s paintings called “The Tribute Money” and “The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.” These are discussed in any art history textbook. These two paintings are important because they are some of the first that show one-point perspective used correctly.

The Brancacci Chapel is located within the nondescript Santa Maria del Carmine church. One would never know that inside this chapel are the masterpieces that follow in the next photos. Photo: giovanni sighele [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Focus on the top half of this image. At the far left is Masaccio’s “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden,” one of Masaccio’s most famous paintings. Why is it important? It shows non-idealized human figures showing horrified emotion. “The Tribute Money” is the main panel. Art history buffs visit the chapel specifically to see these works. | Photo: K. Yung

The Brancacci is a teeny tiny chapel actually, and it’s weird to think that super-famous paintings are inside a room that’s about the size of someone’s living room. But compared to the Scrovegni Chapel, I would say it’s larger. One chapel within the church is about the size of the total Scrovegni. Also, all of the paintings in the Scrovegni are by Giotto, whereas in the Brancacci, there are works by Masaccio and others. For example, one chapel had paintings from the Baroque era…a totally different time period and style.

What did you see after the Brancacci Chapel? We went to the Palazzo Strozzi to see an exhibition of video installations by Bill Viola. He’s an American artist and the show was called Electric Renaissance. It was kind of nice to see this contemporary art — made by someone from Queens, New York, no less — contrasting with the old. They brought in some Renaissance paintings and placed them near Viola’s work.

So enough contemporary work, right? You’re in Florence after all. What was next on the agenda? A friend had recommended to us that we go to the Museo Nove Cento. It was a big disappointment, however, The curation was poor and by that I mean that there was little direction for visitors inside. We couldn’t tell which direction to start walking. There were many pieces without wall texts, those cards that are mounted next to the painting or whatever the art is that tells you about the artist, the media, the date and such. Sometimes there were way too many works placed on the wall, which would make it hard for a piece to stand on its own with space to contemplate it. None of us was impressed with it at all. And we were starting to get really hungry, so we went back to our Airbnb to relax for a bit before going out for dinner.

Did you find a great Florentine restaurant? Well, actually we found a restaurant called La Petite and of all things, I decided to get a burger and sticks. Sticks was the name they gave to classic French fries. It was all very good. We passed on drinks that night and just had waters.

What was on tap for Saturday? We went to the Uffizi Gallery. This is where the two of Botticelli’s most important pieces are: The Birth of Venus and Primavera. The Uffizi is probably the most revered museum in Florence.

My daughter looking at Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” inside the Uffizi Museum. This is one of the Renaissance’s most well-known and iconic paintings. | Photo: K. Yung.
Sandro Botticelli’s “Primavera.” | Photo: K. Yung

There are also other incredible works by Raphael, Van Der Goes, da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Parmigianino. The Uffizi is seriously a huge museum chock full of art and hands-down the most renowned. It’s a sin to go to Florence and not go there.

The Uffizi Gallery in central Florence. Photo: Mariamichelle on Pixabay

After the Uffizi, where did you go? We went to the Convent of San Marco. This is a convent with incredible cell-like living quarters. Inside each cell is a beautiful fresco that’s painted on the wall.

Beautiful frescoes inside a cell at the Convent of San Marco. | Photo: K. Yung

Even though those are interesting to see, the main reason people go to the convent is to see a fresco called the annunciation” by Fra Angelico. It’s amazing. You can find it at the top of the stairs. The convent also has a collection of antique books owned by former residents.

The Annunciation at the Convent of San Marco. | Photo: K. Yung

Where did you have lunch on Saturday? After that, we got lunch at a little nondescript café –have no idea what it was called — and then we decided to take a break from art and went shopping at a Cos store on Via Della Spada. I had never been to Cos before and I thought it was the coolest place ever. Several of us tried a few things on and made a few purchases. We also went to Zara, a popular, inexpensive clothing store. The place was absolutely jam- packed. There was a 45-minute wait just to get into the dressing room. So that didn’t last long because we still had to get to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David.

How was that? Seeing The David was the most amazing thing. I’ve never been stopped in my tracks by something until that moment. It is presented beautifully. You walk down a hall, turn a corner and it’s at the end of a long entry hall.

The hall leading to The David provides a prelude to this great work of art. | Photo: K. Yung

Sunlight streams in from above. It is majestic. Stunning. The David makes you ask, How did someone create that? Its size is part of the spectacle because I didn’t expect it be that large. The hands on The David are disproportionately large to highlight the importance of his hands in slaying Goliath.

Notice the oversized hands on the David designed by Michaelangelo to emphasize the hands that slay Goliath. “Before it was moved to the Accademia in 1873, it stood guard outside the Palazzo della Signoria, Florence’s city hall, for 370 years…,” according to this Mental Floss article. | Photo: K. Yung

We spent about an hour looking at The David, awestruck, and then suddenly we realized it was just about time for dinner.

Another burger? Very funny. No, even better… Mexican! We went to Tijuana Mexican Bar and Restaurant. Actually, it was excellent. I had the best tequila I’ve ever had there. I also ordered a quesadilla with black beans on the side. It was delicious. That night while we were eating, I had this bittersweet realization that it would be one of the last times I would be out with my friends since my internship would be over in about four days.

So you were sad to be leaving? Yes, I guess… sad to leave Florence the next morning, but then also sad to be leaving Italy. I was ready to go home, but at the same time, not ready at all for my time in Italy to be over. I felt like I was just becoming accustomed to living in Venice. I knew my way around. I could manage the language better that I ever dreamed I’d be able to. I could have stayed another three months, honestly.

What was still on your bucket list for Florence? Well, we still hadn’t been to the Duomo, so we knew the next morning would be when we would go see it. However, we had found out on the way to Florence that tickets were sold out for touring the Brunelleschi dome, so we decided to go up the bell tower — Giotto’s Campanile— nearby instead. So we got up on Sunday and by 10 a.m. we were in line to get tickets to go up.

It was still so soon after the campanile ticket office opened that there wasn’t a line yet. So we decided to go on up. Climbing was tiring and you’re just squished up against the walls, rubbing along bodies — there were already other people coming down — as you climb. We got the pictures of the actual dome … the Duomo from the top of the campanile (see image at top of this article). It was a beautiful moment. Incredibly picture-worthy!

After we got back down to the ground, there was a huge line to go up. It was easily a two-hour wait. We’re glad we got there close to when they opened.

The line to Giotto’s Campanile grows very long by mid-morning. | Photo: K. Yung

Then we grabbed a sandwich at a spot near the Duomo and we still wanted to go inside the baptistery of St. John and see the Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. As we were eating, we noticed a really long line to get inside, so two of us decided to wait in line while the other two of us went inside the baptistery where the gates are. And then we switched off.

Gold sparkles on the ceiling inside the baptistery at the Duomo . Because many visit here primarily to see the Gates of Paradise, they are surprised at the beauty of the interior of the baptistery. | Photo: K. Yung

Inside the baptistery, I totally did not expect that it would be completely gold. In art history classes, you usually just study the Gates, which are gold, but the inside of the baptistery is also covered in gold mosaics. The gates show biblical scenes

As for the Duomo, which by the way is part of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the exterior of the building is spectacular with its green, orange and white marble stone.

This photo doesn’t show the extreme ornamentation of the Duomo at Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, but it does convey how the Duomo is prominent in many views of the city. | Photo: K. Yung

The entrance to the museum at the Duomo is underground and that’s also where the original Gates of Paradise are. But for some reason, the museum was closed that day. So, I still haven’t seen the original gates, but I have seen the two copies that exist. One copy is in the baptistery above the museum and the other is at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

A copy of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise were recently added to the permanent collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. | The original gates are in the baptistery of St. John at the Duomo in Florence. Lorenza Ghiberti, a goldsmith and sculptor, created the gates from 1425–1452. | Photo: K. Yung

So was that the end of your time in Florence? Not quite. After that, we went to go see Santa Maria Novella church because we had passed it coming into Florence, and since we were heading out to leave we thought we should go ahead and see it.

The Santa Maria Novella church in Florence. | Photo: K. Yung

Inside there is Masacchio’s Trinity. It’s very important in that it shows the first official correctly-used one-point perspective. It’s actually just a fresco on the wall. And while the church has so much more to see, seeing Trinity was our priority. I remember wishing I wasn’t so tired and could have enjoyed it more, but we were so exhausted from just going-going-going the previous three days.

The Santa Maria Novella church in Florence. | Photo: K. Yung

Any unexpected surprises? Yes. I know it sounds funny, but seeing the trash being collected was amazing. There are above-ground trash bins with large in-ground canisters below them. These automated trucks came along and a huge arm with a giant magnet on it pivots over and picks up the canisters and empties them into the truck. I thought it was interesting to watch, really.

Trash haulers remove garbage from underground vaults. | Photo: K. Yung

How was your Airbnb, by the way? It was great. The owner was really helpful. I definitely remember it being very loud there with all the traffic. In Venice, it’s relatively quiet without all the cars and I think I was just used to that. It was a gated apartment. There was a loft with a queen-sized bed and another bedroom with a twin bed. Down below on the main floor there was a nice couch. It also had a full kitchen. Everything was stone and so nothing absorbed any sound.

So, after seeing Santa Maria Novella, it was time to board the train? Yeah, we went back and got our bags, got on an express train and returned home to Venice for a party that evening. We left around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and got back to Venice around 6. Then we took the vaporetto to Guidecca for a party. We all chipped in for some pizzas and then hustled our way out to the party.

How would you sum up Florence? So. Much. Art. Everywhere you look there is something important. Florence is all about the art. Rome has the coliseum. Venice has the water. Florence has the art.

I make no apologies. As a writer and parent, I feel perfectly entitled to take full advantage of my daughter’s 2017 experience in Italy by wringing every possible story from it! Yes, our family did visit her there for a week that year and while we saw so much in that short time, we envied the luxury of time her three-month internship allowed.

We’ll be returning in May 2023 for a two-week trip to Florence, Siena, Venice, and Rome. Become a follower to catch those posts when they publish. Thanks for reading!

Featured Photo Credit: The Duomo of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore as seen from Giotto’s Campanile in Florence. | Photo: K. Yung

Art Art & Architecture Travel Videos US Travel

Carhenge: Ever heard of it?

Nebraska’s version of Stonehenge

Last week, my husband and I took a three-day trip to Mount Rushmore from southwest Missouri. On the way to and from, we ventured off the beaten path to see some less-visited sites. One of those was Carhenge.

Can you guess what it is? Yep, you’re right. It’s a Stonehenge made of cars.

At left, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge in England and at right, Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska.

And believe it or not, it’s been on the back-burner of our mental bucket list of places to see for several years now. So you can imagine our delight last Thursday when we learned (thanks to Google Maps) that we would be within a few miles of Carhenge when we passed through Alliance, Nebraska (pop. 8,500) later that afternoon.

Another shot

I first heard of Carhenge right around the time I graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988. The project’s completion in 1987 made the news back then in the Midwest for a little while. Then gradually, the news died down, and it became another one of those odd-ball sights the Great Plains is known for.

…y’know, an odd-ball sight that attracts 90,000 people each year and appears on the home page of its official owner, the city of Alliance, Nebraska.

Let’s get to it. Here’s a quick video of me simply rotating the camera around the central site:

The cars were at one time left in their original paint colors. But I would imagine that over time, the paint began to wear and/or the metal finishes began to rust, so a “Stonehenge gray” color was eventually applied to all. Works for me.

Here’s a photo of the site before the cars were painted gray.

Carhenge before it was painted gray.
You can buy this postcard in a very sparse information center/gift shop for 79 cents. That’s cool.

Some Facts About Carhenge:

Carhenge design versus Stonehenge design
Henges by Dan Lindsay | Wikimedia Commons License

More facts:

  • Some of the pits that hold the upright cars are five feet deep.
  • The cars that form the arches are welded to form a complete structure.
  • Reinders built Carhenge as a memorial to his father and while living in England studied Stonehenge to learn its size and proportions.
  • During the solar eclipse of August 2017, the path of totality (the path that would experience a total eclipse) passed right over Carhenge. Four thousand people, including the governor, viewed the eclipse from the site.
  • Carhenge won a Travelers’ Choice Award from Trip Advisor in 2020.
Another shot
Trucks were also used to form the monumental sculpture.
Needless to say, Carhenge is an unusual experience.

The information sign below tells about the main Carhenge circle and some outlying sculptures made of found objects, farm implements, and auto parts.

Carhenge informational sign
The sign

Sign here, please.

While you can walk right up to the main sculpture, don’t write anything on the cars. If you feel the need to leave your mark, do it on this white car placed here specifically for that purpose.

Autograph car at Carhenge
Sign here, please. To the right of the autograph car is an assemblage also made by Jim Reinders called “The Fourd Seasons,” inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The sculpture includes all Ford automobiles and represents the four seasons of Nebraska.

Here’s another example of some of the outlying pieces around Carhenge. This is called Carnestoga after the old Conestoga wagons that at one time were the High Plains vehicle of choice.

Carnestoga at Carhenge
Carhenge from a distance
Here’s one final shot as we left Carhenge.

Don’t forget to visit the small information center/gift shop at the site to drop in a donation and buy a souvenir. They have t-shirts, postcards, key rings, cold drinks, and a few snacks et al to make your Carhenge visit complete.

The bucket list

I can now cross Carhenge off my bucket list. If Carhenge isn’t on your bucket list, add it pronto. And then get thee to Alliance, Nebraska to see this funky testament to creativity and cars.

On our way to Mount Rushmore, we also took a quick two-hour tour of De Smet, South Dakota to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes. I’ll do a short post about that soon. Thanks for reading!
While you’re here, check out another post that celebrates the culture and art of the Midwest.
Art US (Missouri) US Travel

Monet’s Water Lilies in Kansas City

Visit the gardens of Giverny in the heartland

In March, I traveled to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. to see this Claude Monet masterpiece in a special exhibition called “Monet Water Lilies: From Dawn to Dusk.”

It’s a ten-minute showing in a small gallery that features special lighting that illuminates and then dims to replicate the cycle of sunlight and its effects on the lush colors of Monet’s painting. (View the transition in the slide show above.)

Monet's Water Lilies: From Dawn to Dusk exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.
The painting, the star of the Nelson-Atkins’ Bloch addition, has been relocated for the exhibition to a small gallery in the main building.

The ten-minute dawn-to-dusk cycle repeats every fifteen minutes and you can view it from a bench in the middle of the small, secluded room.

Monet Water Lilies: From Dawn to Dusk interactive video monitor
It’s a small, no-frills exhibition. One room, one painting, plus this explanatory video monitor.

While the painting reflects the peace of a French garden, Monet painted this artwork in the shadow of World War One.

Monet set his easel outside and painted, closely observing and attempting to render the effect of light in surface shapes, colors, and shadows as they shifted throughout the day. He completed the canvas in his studio from memory, as soldiers, including the artist’s son, and stepson marched to the front lines to defend their country. For Monet, his Water Lilies canvases offered an escape.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

And who wouldn’t find these beautiful gardens to be an escape?

Despite the turmoil in the world, Claude Monet worked against it with these popular paintings.

It’s slowly reopening to its full schedule, but until then, you can still have an awesome time in the Kansas City’s best attraction. Stay tuned for more posts soon!

There is no charge to view this exhibition, but call ahead to reserve your space for a specific time.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO | Americasroof at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks for reading! Click like and follow this blog for more posts on “travel with a side of art.”
Four years ago, I visited Venice for the first time. Enter Venice above in the search bar for a variety of posts on La Serenissima, the Most Serene Republic of Venice.

Art Italy (Venice)

Orientalism in Venetian Art

Orientalism in Venetian Art

Orientalism in Venetian Art

Featured Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Art Art & Architecture Uncategorized US (Missouri)

Ode to the Hudson River School

I took the above photo yesterday afternoon at the Pomme de Terre River about six miles east of Bolivar, Missouri. After I posted it on Instagram and Facebook, a friend commented that it reminded her of paintings from the Hudson River School. I vaguely knew what she meant, but I wasn’t exactly sure.

So I did what we all do when we’re a little fuzzy on a subject: I googled. Two seconds later, I found this entry on Wikipedia,

“The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism. The paintings typically depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the CatskillAdirondack, and White Mountains.”


I also read that two of the more prominent Hudson River School artists were Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886) and Thomas Cole (1801-1848).

That Wikipedia entry rang a bell. In my mind’s eye, I could hazily recall Kindred Spirits, the masterpiece by Durand I saw a few years ago in the permanent collection at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. (Read my article about this fabulous collection here: There are no crystal bridges at Crystal Bridges: and other thoughts about the best art museum you’ve probably never heard of).

If you can’t picture Kindred Spirits any better than I could, here it is:

Kindred Spirits | Asher Brown Durand | Public domain | That’s fellow artist Thomas Cole and poet William Cullen Bryant talking on a ledge in the Catskill Mountains.

I can see what my friend meant by her Facebook comment. A few things give my photo that “Hudson River School” look:

  • The colors… All those gorgeous greens and golds.
  • The composition… That tree trunk on the left. Those leaves and branches that gracefully frame the sky.
  • The subject matter… America the beautiful, in all her glory.

The Wikipedia article also noted that…

In general, Hudson River School artists believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was a reflection of God.


Even though the various artists of the Hudson River School differed in their beliefs or devotion to Christianity, they apparently shared an inclination to record a pastoral, peaceful co-existence between mankind and nature. The paintings accomplish that goal. They are uplifting, calming, and restorative… just like that little bend in the Pomme de Terre.

Just for fun, let’s look at some other Hudson River School paintings by Durand…

A Stream in the Wood | 1865 | Asher Brown Durand | Public Domain
The Catskills | 1859 | Asher Brown Durand | Public Domain

And now, three by Thomas Cole…

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, After a Thunderstorm a.k.a. The Oxbow | Thomas Cole | 1836 | Public Domain
View on the Catskill – Early Autumn | Thomas Cole | 1836 | Public Domain
Daniel Boone at His Cabin at Great Osage Lake | Thomas Cole | 1826 | Public Domain

Who says social media isn’t educational?

Yesterday, I was just taking a pretty picture down by the river east of Bolivar. However, thanks to my friend’s comment, I learned a little about 19th-century American art. Hopefully, with this blog post (by the way, blogs are another form of social media) you learned a little, too.

Thanks for reading! Ever take a picture that you found later resembled a famous photo or painting? Click like, leave a comment, and let me know. Become a follower for more posts like this one or click on my menu of art-related posts at the top of the screen.

Art Greece (Athens, Delphi)

The Zeus of Greek Museums

From golden goblets to frying pans to perfume

On our next to last day in Greece last summer, we capped off our Greek museum tour with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. It was the last museum we would see, having already visited other museums in Athens (The Acropolis Museum), Mycenae, Delphi, Olympia, and Heraklion. You would think that we would have been “museumed out,” but actually each museum is so unique to its location that each one feels quite different from the others.


So what sets the National Archaeological Museum in Athens apart from the others? In a word, I would say “breadth.” In fact, you will find the widest gamut of Greek artifacts and art. This museum has pieces from all those other areas we had visited across the country, in addition to hundreds (possibly thousands) more.

By the way, here’s a list with links to posts I’ve written about the other museums we visited in Greece:

For example, when we visited the Museum of Mycenae, the golden Mask of Agamemnon that was discovered in a grave circle there, was not held in that museum.

The original Mask of Agamemnon is in Athens; a replica is in Mycenae. Photo: Wikipedia

The mask on exhibit in Mycenae is a replica,  a guard told me. The original could be found in the National Museum in Athens, he added. Upon hearing this, we made a mental note to seek out the mask when we would eventually tour the National.

Watch this video from Khan Academy for more about this mask.

When one visits a museum in Greece, you truly feel that you are in the hub of antiquity. Each museum is an art historian’s dream;  art history students will also be amazed at seeing in person so many famous works commonly found in textbooks.

This description of the National Museum can be found on the museum’s website:

“The National Archaeological Museum is the largest museum in Greece and one of the most important in the world. Originally destined to receive all the 19th century excavations, mainly from Attica and other parts of the country, it gradually took the form of a central National Archaeological Museum and was enriched with finds from all parts of the Greek world. The rich collections, enumerating more than 11,000 exhibits, offer the visitor a panorama of ancient Greek culture from the prehistory to the late antiquity.”

We saw Cycladic non-stick frying pans that date from 2800-2300 BC.
These Cycladic frying pans really captured my interest since they resemble modern day frying pans.

Here’s a listing of the various collections within the museum:

  • prehistoric antiquities
  • sculpture
  • metalwork
  • vases and minor arts
  • Egyptian antiquities
  • Cypriot antiquities (those from the island of Cyprus).
Ancient Greek Cauldrons
IMG_1237 (1)
Fragments of a fresco from Knossos Palace in Heraklion on the island of Crete. This is an image of a “figure 8 shield” covered in animal hide.
Part of the museum’s collection of gold artifacts. These are from Mycenae’s Grave Circle A, where many tombs of the wealthy were found. The pieces are found in the shapes of cocoons (a symbol of rebirth), pomegranates (a symbol bounty), and butterflies.
These golden goblets, known as the Vaphio Cups, are finely detailed and depict bulls.
Egyptian artifacts proves trade between the early Greeks and Egyptians. The Greeks learn some of their quarrying techniques from the Egyptians. In addition, archaic kouros poses were borrowed from the ancient Egyptians.
Part of a temporary exhibit, “The Countless Aspects of Beauty.”
Vials of perfumes to sniff in the “Countless Aspects of Beauty” exhibit.
These amphoras (pedestal vases) were awarded at Panathenaia, an important festival held in honor of Athena in Athens.
Close-up of an amphora.
Members of the Roman Julio Claudian Dynasty (31 BC-68AD). During this period, Greece was a Roman province.
Renowned bronze of Zeus or Poseidon found on the Cape of Artemision, in northern Euboea near Athens.
This Zeus, in the Severe style, also known as the Early Classical style, “marks the breakdown of the canonical forms of archaic art and the transition to the greatly expanded vocabulary and expression of the classical moment of the late 5th century,” according to this Wikipedia article. Works in the Severe style show a change in drapery of clothing.
The Severe Style more accurately represents the human body. Also, Severe style works have an “interest in emotion and motion.” As for emotion, figures reveal a more serious character and expression.  As for motion, figures are under strain or in action, but always in motion.
Here’s an example from the museum of an early Cycladic figure that shows the contrast of earlier artwork to later pieces of the Severe style.
Close-up of the youth Perseus or Paris. Also of the Severe style, this is a good example of how artists commonly used bronze to produce their sculptures.

Visiting the National Museum in Athens was our final stop of our five-week Greek odyssey. We left Athens at 6 a.m. the next morning, for a short layover in Amsterdam, and then Atlanta, and then finally to our home airport in Springfield, Mo.

Featured Photo Credit: Marilyn Yung | Bronze sculpture (of Zeus or Poseidon) in the Severe style, 460 BC.

Thanks for reading again about our travels in Greece this past summer! Now that we’ve both started new jobs and are in the full swing of new school years, this trip seems like a lifetime ago. However, there are still posts to be written, and I’ll get to those eventually. My next one will likely be about the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, which I was able to see briefly during my week-long stay there in June. 

Now that the year is beginning to wind down, I also hope to write soon about “2019… My Year of Living Changerously” and how I managed to stay buckled up and on the tracks.