Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gallery Day

Being terribly terribly lazy is often quite inconvenient. For example, this month the Commune di Roma set aside one week in which all the galleries of the City would be free of charge. And it being Italy, a "week" meant ten days.

And did I go every single day?

Silly question.

But I did manage to overcome my inertia and go on the very last day. Three galleries in one day. Something of a record for me.

I started with the Museo Nationale di Roma, one of a group of national museums run by the city. This one is easy to get to, since it is on the main bus route and close to things that everyone knows about, like the Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori and the Chiesa Nuova.

With Roman galleries, very often the buildings themselves are worth the ticket price.

18th century sedan chair. The only way to see Rome.

In the old days, the peasants really knew how to treat the Pope.

A cardinal.

I saw this painting once before, in a separate exhibit, and was caught by both the beauty of its composition and its very moving depiction of manly Christian charity. It is a picture of a group of confraternity members rescuing patients from Tiber flood waters at the hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia, the hospital founded by King Ine of Wessex in the 7th century, which is still standing near St. Peter's today. In the old days, the Tiber regularly flooded the city, and you will often see medieval buildings in which the parts where people live are raised up ten feet or so on columns for the times when that part of the city is under water.

A busy painting that manages not to overwhelm. I must learn this trick of composition.

Yes, Rome has always been a pit.

This is one of the uniforms of the pages of the Roman Senate. Everything was better then (except dentistry).

They were having a very interesting exhibit of pen and ink magazine illustrations and watercolours of life in Rome in the 1930s and during the German occupation.

I looked at this one and thought, "Nope, Roman families haven't changed much."

These pictures of smiling Nazis buying souvenirs and taking pictures of each other in front of Rome's monuments I found rather eerie. I didn't take any pics of the ones of them rounding up Jews, not because they were too upsetting, but because they have been seen too much in movies lately to have the same impact. For some reason, I found the ones of the smiling cheerful Nazis to be much more frightening.

The gallery backs onto the Piazza Navona, this was out one of the windows in a room with a photo taken before the piazza was restored. It just feels strange knowing that it has been here so long before I was born, and will be here for so long after I'm gone.

More to come.

1 comment:

Kris said...

THANK YOU for sharing your trip to the art gallery with your readers. Your comments help some of us non-artists to "see." And your point about the smiling Nazis is a good one. There is nothing so chilling as seeing fascism in its prime.