This is one of the most perfect works of art in existence and was found in Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli in the sixteenth century and brought to Florence in 1680. The fingers of the statue are modern, and a little inspection will convince you that they are rigid and affected and not in keeping with the rest of the figure. When found the statue was sadly mutilated, the head being severed from the body.
You can see where it was joined. The arms and feet were broken. into a number of pieces, but these fragments were skillfully brought together. A single glance at this illustrious work of art would be sufficient to impress us with its unrivaled excellences, but
“We must return, and once more give a loose To the delighted spirit-worshipping In her small temple of rich workmanship, Venus herself, who, when she left the skies, Came hither.”
“Her modest attitude is partly what unmakes her as a heathen goddess and softens her into woman. On account of the skill with which the statue has been restored, she is just as whole as when she left the hands of the sculptor. One cannot think of her as a senseless image, but as a being that lives to gladden the world, incapable of decay or death ; as young and fair as she was three thousand years ago, and still to be young and fair as long as a beautiful thought shall require physical embodiment.”
“The Goddess loves in stone, and fills The air around with beauty; we inhale The ambrosial aspect, which, beheld, instills Part of its immortality; the veil Of Heaven is half undrawn; within the pale We stand, and in that form and face behold What Mind can make, when Nature’s self would fail; And to the fond idolaters of old, Envy the innate flesh which such a soul could mould. “We gaze and turn away, and know not where, Dazzled and drunk with beauty, till the heart Reels with its fullness ; there-forever there- Chained to the chariot of triumphal Art, We stand as captives and would not depart.”
The two most celebrated galleries in Florence are the Uffizi and the Pitti, and these are connected by a covered passageway, so that on a rainy day one may spend the entire time in these galleries and pass from one to the other without exposing himself to the inclemency of the weather. We have seen the choicest gems of art in the Uffizi, and now as we go to see the masterpieces in the Pitti Gallery we will stop and take a look at this covered way where it crosses the most ancient bridge in Florence. From the map it is evident we shall be looking west, down the Arno.