It’s our last day in Rome and I spent the morning drawing the statue of Marcus Aurelius in il Museo Capitoline. This has to be one of the most impressive pieces of art around, for its magnificence, proportions, gilded in bronze and dating from around 180 CE. It’s astounding and a privilege to sit before it. It is in its new setting in a special room at the museum.
Just around the corner there is this Etruscan piece from 700-600 BCE
This one is terrific but pales in comparison to the Sarcophagus of the Spouses in the Etruscan Museum here- called Villa Giulia. Circa 520 BCE. Terracotta.
The Museo Nazional de Arte Clasica Romana is across the street from Termini. It houses a fine collection of Roman era sculptures on the first two floors, very professionally exhibited with excellent English translations. The top floor houses wall paintings from Roman era villas, many of which are in amazing condition. There are also some excellent examples of mosaic art. Here are some examples.
The Museo delle Mura (Museum of the Walls), is at St Stephens Gate, at the entry to Appia Antica, the Appian Way as it is known in English. It wasn’t open when we were here last and in 2000 I do not think it even existed. It is small but the small albeit older style exhibits tell you about the history of the Roman walls and their many alterations and reconstructions. And the views are great!
You can walk along the top of the walls, as you can see from here.
The Barberini Palace, just up the hill from Bernini’s Tritone Fountain, is an immense mansion and the home of the Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, art from about the 15th c -17th century. Here is Caravaggio’s Narisco- Narcissus. Get a load of the reflection!
In the galleries I try to find something I can draw. I try to find something that is interesting and doable in 5-10 minutes and where there is a seat, good lighting, things like that. Sketch of Gerrit van Bronckhorst’s Betsaben al Bagno. I’d never heard of this painter. Seems to have been influenced by Caravaggio, given how he treats the light here.
Back to Caravaggio, here’s another masterpiece hanging in room 20 (in my best Spanish accent, I asked where this room was in Italian and got a reply in Spanish!). It’s so gruesome I nearly walked out of the room!
Salvator Rosa’s “La Poesia” and “La Musica” (17th century) are superb.
And a rarity for the time, a woman painter, and quite a good one! Portrait of a Young Woman Dressed as a Bacchante
Here’s yet another prize- what the Galleria notes as the first female nude:
Jacopo Zucchi “Ritratto di Ciela Farnese”
As for the building, it is a divine palace built by the Barberini family, whose symbol, three bees, appears throughout. It is in wonderful shape. The most magnificent room is on the second floor, immense and nearly empty except for several small sofas in the middle. People lay on them and look at the ceiling, some 20 meters/60 feet above. Here’s why:
You have to go there to appreciate all of these, especially this ceiling though.
We flew from Istanbul to Rome. We’ve rented an apartment on Tiburtina. We are a few steps from a Sicilian bakery, several pizza al talgio (sold by weight) places, tavola calda- ‘hot tables’ meaning you order from the glass case and they weigh and bring it to you, a good and expensive way to eat out. There are restaurants, including a highly rated modestly priced one down the street, and there’s Picolo Molisi right next to it. P.M. is a well known fish restaurant we’ve been to several times. I never knew exactly where it was, having gone there by car only via lots of one way streets. It’s hard to find, too, because there is only a very tiny sign on the side street.
We’ve got a bar downstairs. It’s full of coffee clatchers and every other imaginable type of person. There’s a post office, three grocery stores within a five minute walk. Termini, the main train station, is just 10 minutes or so walking. We have two buses and down the street a bit is the tram that takes you to San Giovane and out to Pigneto.
Visit to the bar at Doria Pamphili, a drawing of a Cardinal, probably somebody in the Pamphili family.