We all know Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance, right? The art in Florence, Italy, is second to none in the world. The David statue in the Accademia Gallery is one of the many examples of artworks in Florence that are some of the most popular in the world. In fact there are so many David statues in Florence, you’re spoiled for choice, you can even take a little one home with you. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello are some of the artists in Florence that are a must see.
But what about new artworks in Florence? New artists in Florence, new art schools in Florence? After all, it can’t be all about the renaissance, even if being the birthplace of the renaissance puts Florence in a unique position to throw up new talents, to unique art, to unique art schools. I was lucky enough to experience art in the making, in an amazing and well established art school here in Florence last year. My good friend and sculptor, Claudia Godoy, asked me if I would model for her, a life-size, half-body nude, and of course I said yes!
Claudia and I have been friends for the best part of 6 years, she arrived in Florence from Brazil, about a year after me, with her triplets who were in the same school year as my oldest son. The families quickly became friendly and when I separated, I guess I got them as my own! Claudia is an extremely interesting woman, with an incredible life story. Suffice to say that she sold up her business in Brazil, retired to Florence and is now a successful sculptor. She’s always full of wisdom and is someone who I’ve seen grow and change in the relatively short time I’ve known her, Claudia is a true artist, carving out her own life in the shapes and shades that make the most sense to her.
When she decided to listen to her gut, Claudia started taking art classes in Florence in the Florence Studio. Art schools in Florence are plentiful, but only at the Florence Studio do you find Frank and Laura, who have been artists for 35 years and settled here over 12 years ago with an amazing dream of building this art school from scratch, and what a good job they did. As far as art classes in Florence are concerned, it doesn’t get much better than this. Claudia’s work being a testament to that, of course her talent and commitment gave her an unfair advantage, but the studio is her artistic cradle.
Modelling half naked for Claudia, was a lot of fun. I must say that I had never been in a room naked with more than one person, truly, I never even get changed in gyms, it’s not my thing. But Claudia, Frank and Laura made it so easy and relaxed, that it seemed natural to stand and pose for whole afternoons, while listening to music and discussing my latest Tinder mishap. The process itself was extremely interesting and it was a real privilege to watch it happen. My first day there, I faced the nakedness head-on, I had to take off my clothes and pose, Claudia had already chosen the pose and all I had to do was hold it. It’s easier said than done, your muscles get tired quickly and you need breaks every 20 minutes or so. It would hurt more to move again than to just sit in the pose, but you have to get moving. As the weeks went by, my love life got more and more interesting, culminating in me falling in love and losing weight towards the end of the experience. My body started to look different and Claudia was annoyed at having to make so many changes to make the sculpture more skinny, in the end we agreed to leave it as before as it would surely go back to it, as it did. After the afternoons with Claudia, the posing and falling in love, I had a beautiful sculpture of myself. It’s such a strange feeling to see your own face right in front of you, to look and see yourself. Claudia was generous, she made me beautiful and so elegant, I just love her version of me.
Art in Florence, Italy doesn’t get much better than this. As Claudia grows as an artist and becomes known for her work, it fills me with pride to say that I am one of the artworks in Florence, I’m not in the Uffizi (yet), but let’s wait and see… Like Claudia and the Florence studio, there are many artists and many art studios in Florence. Art in Florence is now and current, and not just about the renaissance, with time and dedication you can be a part of what makes this city the obvious choice for art lovers from all over the world.