Tag Archives: Bernini

Beautiful Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese (built 1613-16), what a beautiful place to begin the day, a wistful mansion retreat  built almost exclusively to house hundreds of Italian Masterpieces, not necessarily to live in.  We met first with Maria Assunta Sorrentino, Exhibitions Coordinator and Register, along with some of her colleagues.  The speakers explained how Borghese is one of 3,000 some federal museums in Rome.

Ceiling Painting, Galleria Borghese

Most any cultural institution in Rome is run by the government in some capacity, greatly influencing funding and their abilities to collaborate with other museums or institutions.  Though the collection here is massive a large portion of the original collection survives in Paris.  One of the Borghese sisters married Napoleon Bonaparte and during his raging plunder of European high culture and arts, the Galleria Borghese was not spared.  However, because of his relationship to the sister, the Borghese art was “sold” not stolen.

Hands down the most amazing things (for me at least) here are the collection of Bernini sculptures.  This man was a true artist and my “stolen” photos, aka hip shots, do no justice to the beauty of these pieces.  Every muscle, every expression, EVERY LITTLE THING is intricately perfect. Love, love, love.

Bernini Sculpture

After, we met with Manuela Cuccuru at the Gagosian Gallery to view the exhibition, “Made in Italy.”  There were some big name artists in the show including, Damien Hirst, if you remember my post about the Golden Dipped Cow.  However, you all know me and modern art, our relationship is fairly non-existent.  The meeting with Manuela was interesting however, learning about how they jury their shows and how they feel they are comparing to other galleries around Rome.  We spent a really long portion of our day at Borghese so we all sort of split ways at this point.

A small group of us travelled on over to the Cimeterio dei Cappuccini/Crypt of the Cappuchins.  This is sort of one of those weird things you think only exist on the travel channel. It’s a little crypt under a church, Santa Maria della Concezione, built by the Cappuchin monks out of the dead exhumed from a cemetery, and later their own relatives and brothers. Thousands of bodies literally adorn the walls and ceilings in intricate mosaics of random bones.  You have light fixtures made from spinal discs and walls stacked with skulls.

The bodies age from 1500 to the 1870s, though this particular crypt wasn’t in existence until 1631.  The bodies aging older than that were ordered to be moved from another cemetery in Rome. Unlike most people I wasn’t unsettled by being surrounded by so many dead bodies, I was struck by the fact that people had spent hours below ground with rotted/rotting corpses creating ornate designs in bones and fastening them to walls.  To each his own I suppose.


The Grand Tour

Hello again friends! I was supposed to write about Rome while everything was fresh in my mind.  You can see that that has happened.  Work, school, moving into a new apartment and the manfriend have all sort of sucked up most of my spare time.  BUT, three weeks later, here is day two of Roma.

Markets of Trajan

Day two in Rome was simply out of control; so much amazing stuff and insane amounts of information to attempt to digest.  Beginning in the 1660s young English and Northern European Aristocratic men would undertake a  journey they referred to as The Grand Tour. The Grand Tour was the name given to the ideal way of obtaining one’s education: they would travel all through Europe, ending in Italy and on into Rome: soaking up the language, sport, art, manners and culture as they went in order to become a “properly” educated citizen of the world.  This day felt like my grand tour and I feel like I did as much in a day that they did in several months to years.

We began at the Markets of Trajan and the Museum di Imperiali.  This location was basically the very first indoor shopping mall.  A large portion of the structure has been turned into a museum.  The really interesting thing is how well they have modified the space to be a working museum without imposing too far on the original material of the structure.  The once open doorways and windows are covered in clear plexi-glass and ramps are built in but not permanent.  By ethical standards of adaptive reuse in historic structures, no alterations should be made that are not reversible without harm to the building.  From the top level of the market we got another excellent view of Rome and the Forum below.

Plexi Entrance Wall

You could really see the effects of time on all the structures, including a part of the market structure where medieval dwellings had been built to create another floor of the already existing building.  Next to the market is the Column of Trajan, spiraled with a beautifully detailed relief telling of the military history of Trajan.  Makes you think, whatever happened to craftsmanship?  So much effort used to go into everything and now we are blessed with things like tin-sided churches.

Column of Trajan

Greeted by two large horse statues, the protectors of the city, we visited Capitoline Hill which is known as the “city center”.  Here you see a lot of Rome’s most renowned sculpture including the classic Julius Caeser on his horse, the over-sized head, hand and foot of Constantine, the she wolf suckling Romulus and Remus and many, many, many more.  Much of this sculpture wasn’t moved to the Capitoline until the 1470’s when the Pope returned them to the city and its people from the papal collections.  At this point the sculpture became one of the first really “public” collections in history. I’m not sure why it struck me so, but one piece I found oddly beautiful in the Musei Capitolini was of the satyr (you all know I LOVE satyrs!) Marsyas.  He made the awful mistake of challenging Apollo to a music competition and for that lost his hide and his life.  This statue is carved from a deep purple veined marble which was to represent the many lashings he received for his folly.  Though sad, the statue is very beautiful and moving in a way.

Protectors of the City

Marsyas

Something I found throughout my entire time in Rome was the fact that in Rome it is IMPOSSIBLE to separate the old and the new, everything is all tossed together and built up next to each other.  I. LOVE. IT.  Rome touches on so many museum issues for me that I could write a million blog posts.  Hopefully posts will come someday about reconstruction versus preservation and also more on the integration of the old and new in Roman museums and galleries.

We did a ton of interesting stuff on day 2 but I can’t elaborate on everything or this would be as long as a guide book.   Enjoy the photos of things we saw/did and I’ve added some external links in if you’d like to read more about something.

Mattei Family Sculpture Garden, an extremely expensive display of self-wealth.

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Piazza Navona includes some AMAZING Bernini fountains/sculptures, that guy was just fantastic at what he did.  Here, this fountain represents the four rivers.

Piazza Navona

The Four Rivers by Bernini

We saw a LOT of churches whilst in Rome and not being my favorite bit I’m not going to elaborate on all of them though I might pop a few pictures in.  We ended up at the Pantheon (Temple of the Gods).  There is still much that is left unknown about this structure and its purposes which made it a little hard for me to get into, but it’s still one of those “must see” sites.

After class hours we wandered off to the Forum, dinner and the Trevi Fountain. You could spend an entire day wandering around the Forum reading about all of the different structures that are there.

After, we ate at a L’Archetto, a macaroni joint that boasts more than 100 different sauces/gravies.  It was delicious.  As for the Trevi Fountain it is enormous and beautiful and I loved it.

The Forum

L'Archetto, YUM!

Trevi Fountain