Thursday, June 30, 2016

Let Me Paint You A Picture: Uffizi Gallery Museum

To me, horticulture is the perfect blend of art and science. You can find horticulture everywhere you look. From the clothes you wear, to the cup of coffee or tea you sip, there is no denying that horticulture is an essential part of life. Nevertheless, one aspect of this amazing field I had not fully considered until coming to Italy, was that horticulture also links us to our past, as it is clearly depicted in many forms of art from all through the ages.
I found it intriguing that since plants were key elements in many works of art, we can gain a new perspective of what life was like back in the day. This also serves as a way to study the evolution of crop domestication, where certain varieties of plants originated from, as well as how plants have changed throughout time.
Yesterday we took our very last field trip to Florence and toured the Uffizi Gallery Museum. Before the Uffizi was gallery, it was actually an administrative office building for the wealthy and powerful Medici family. Uffizi literally translates to "Palace of Offices".  One of my favorite pieces of art displayed at the Uffizi Gallery was the La Primavera by Botticelli. Botticlli painted this masterpiece in 1482 for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici. On the left side of the painting there is a women in a floral printed dress. She is Flora, the goddess of flowers and the season of spring. Venus is featured in the center of the painting, seemingly framed by the other figures and as well as the line of trees, drawing your eye to her. On the right side of Venus, you can find the Three Graces and a man who is Mercury. 
There are many speculations about what story the painting is trying to convey, but to me it perfectly captures the whimsically time of early renaissance and the anticipation for spring. It also amazes me that the La Primavera contains 500 plant species and 190 different flowers, all of which could be commonly found growing during that fantastic age of art and culture. 
While I have always loved the science side of horticulture, I am coming to appreciate the art in horticulture a lot more. The study of our environment has always fascinated me, and it is because of this that I choose horticulture as a degree and future occupation. Coming on this amazing study abroad program and learning about international horticulture has been the highlight of my collegiate career thus far. I am looking forward to continuing my education as well as my life journey. So for the last time from Italy, grazie and gig 'em!

-Lauren K

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