Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday in Milano for the Giro d'Italia

Sunday afternoon was Stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia in Milan, so we went downtown for the day. Funny how after a couple of trips it's no big deal to get to the Metro station and get into Milan - it seemed like such a project a few weeks ago!

Our plan was to arrive downtown by 9:30am so that we could get in early to see the Monet exhibit at the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace). This exhibit is "Monet: Time of the Water Lilies" and focused on the influences on Monet from Japanese art and gardens. He built a Japanese garden at his home in Giverny and that is where his water lily paintings were painted. There were 20 works of water lilies, weeping willows, reflections in the pond and the Japanese bridge in his garden, along with paintings and photographs of gardens from Japan that influenced Monet.

First off, can I just say, it was incredible to see some original Monet paintings and to enjoy them in person. To see the colors he used first hand - what a range! From soft, dreamy pastels to bold purples and greens, all intermixed to create the image. And then the texture - to see the brushstrokes up close, the places where the paint is thicker or fades out. It was amazing.

It was also fun for Brandon, because in his art class at school they had studied Monet and impressionism a little bit, so he liked to see it. I have to say, it makes me appreciate the Art@Adams program a lot more seeing now what Brandon has learned in art in just a couple of years of elementary school! At age 8 he has an appreciation for art that I am surprised at, but love.

It makes me want to learn how to paint with oils - the colors, the textures... I'm going to have to try it sometime! No pictures of the exhibit though, which is too bad, but also just fine because the pictures just would not do the paintings justice. Looking in the books right after seeing the paintings was disappointing, because the colors were just not right!

From the exhibit we went up on the roof of the Duomo, it was open and Brandon was dying to go up! It's a nice view of the city, and so different from the "downtown" of your average US city. There are no skyscrapers, for one. The streets aren't laid out in the typical grid pattern we are used to. There are all sorts of bell towers and church domes dotting the skyline. Different.

The rest of the day was spent watching the Giro d'Italia! It kicked off about 1:30pm. Mike came down and we wandered from the Duomo and Castello area over to the Porta Venezia area of Milan, following the course and seeing the riders from different locations. We ended up at Mike's new apartment to see it and also the last lap of the race a block or so from his place. From there we took the Metro back and headed home. A long, hot, sunny day but fun! Of course there are pictures - go here.

On days like yesterday, it is just so amazing to think that we live here and can do all of these things in one day!

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