“An Idea of Beauty” in Florence, Italy

FLORENCE, Italy, July 2013 — In Florence, Italy, I viewed a number of exhibitions relating to the Italian Renaissance. One exhibit in particular stuck with me. It was a multifaceted affair about beauty, called, “An Idea of Beauty.” It asked questions like, What is it? Do we still recognize it? What does it look like? Can we still see beauty despite its commercialization, its trivialization, its cheapening and its over-the-top “sexual” content, both implicit and explicit? The exhibit included a couple of videos and, despite the fact that they bore little resemblance to the kind of work that I (most of us) do in the world of backpack video journalism, I can still see them now as I ride this fast train to Rome.

© Bill Gentile