Friday, August 14, 2020

Dietro Front in Florence, Italy

I took a picture of this sculpture a long time ago when we were visiting Florence, Italy. Something about it spoke to me, made me feel like it was something quite unique and special.

Here I am, about 10 years later, revisiting old photographs and feeling that this sculpture now speaks to me, once again, but this time in a different way.

Dietro Front in Italian translates to "about turn", "about face", or "to turn around in the opposite direction". The artist once described his work as simply that - this statue is placed in the intersection of Porta Romana, and one womanly figure points in the direction toward Florence while the other figure points away from Florence leading the way to Rome. Simple, right?

But is his work meant to be a beautiful street sign? Or is the meaning more deep? Do we want to venture out from home and explore, while at the same time there is something pulling us, or holding us back, seeking an "about turn"?

The Florentines have given this sculpture other nicknames, including the "headache" or "unbalanced". Easy to understand, don't we all feel a heavy weight on our head or shoulders at some point in time, especially these days? But is that the focus? Should it be the focus?

Whether it is the weight of the world, or a weight of wanting to go back - go back home, or go back to the way things were, the way things used to be - the bottom figure is strong. We are strong, we are resilient, and that is just beautiful.