Art

The details of Michelangelo’s David

052    On March 6th, the anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarrotti’s birthday I had the chance to finally visit the David. Upon walking into the Accademia there is no excitement, the first room is yellow tinted with unappealing lighting. In the center stands an early cast of Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna, the walls carry scattered paintings. Turn left and you enter a long hallway where suddenly the David strikes you. The hallway includes a number of statues by Michelangelo as well but they are impossible to focus on when there is the beacon of natural light meeting marble at then end of the hall.

It is impossible not to rush straight ahead to the David. He stands on a pediment, and although I have seen the one in Piazza della Signoria, I thought the real statue was smaller. This massive larger than life statue holds your attention. A large part of this is due to its position.  A jewel of the museum it is almost as if the museum was built around this statue, rather than having it moved there later.

Michelangelo David Florence

 

When I imagined David smaller, I imagined the viewer could meet his gaze, whereas in reality Michelangelo’s ability to create moving emotion shows through and David intently looks up to his left, as if meeting the gaze of Goliath.  In reality, it originally looked to Rome, a message sent from the Medici Democracy to the Papal State.

While his gaze does not meet the views, the strong aspect of his hand and his overall presence within the space is enough to complete a sense of awe.

Michelangelo's David Gaze Michelangelo's David, Hand detail

Once the viewer can pull themselves back into the moment, away from the statue, the other statues in the hall become clearer. Of these 6 other statues, 4 are Michelangelo’s unfinished Slaves, meant to be placed on the Pope Julius II tomb. While they may not seem “beautiful” in our eyes that are trained to see finished works as beautiful, they reveal a new part of the process. How does a block of marble become an inspiring work of art? Michelangelo carved from the front back, having the figures emerge. When looking at these however, it appears the reverse, that the figures are slowly melting back into the marble.

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A Day with Dante

A few weeks ago I was staying in Riccione and had the chance to take a day exploring historic Rimini and Ravenna.  Both of these cities played an important role in the life of Dante, which is exactly why I wanted to visit.

Rimini, though more famously known as one of the best beach vacation spots actually has a fascinating historic center, which houses the Malatesta Temple, the official cathedral of the Malatesta family. The same Malatesta family included in Dante’s Inferno, Paolo Malatesta and his brothers wife Francesca da Polenta who found themselves committing adultery were both murdered by Giovanni Malatesta . The Malatesta family held power over Rimini for hundreds of years, beginning in 1295. They were a family of Guelphs and took power when their enemies the Ghibelline’s were run out of Rimini.

The Temple however was built in 1458 by architect Leon Battista Alberti, and  Matteo di Andrea de’ Pasti. The intent was for this to be a Mausoleam for Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and his lover Isotta degli Atti. The temple was to have a dome based off the Pantheon and it would have been the largest in all of Italy, however, it was never built, as the family was running out of money. The building we see today is how it was left in 1466.

I had breakfast just around the corner (with a delicious cornetto based off chocolate rice krispies!) with a beautiful view of the Temple, on my right I could see straight down the street to the main historic square. It was around 9 and the city was busy, yet quite. Everyone rode bikes, in fact there was a three sided bike stand with bikes piled on each other, each bike with a basket that often contained if not a meal, a small child riding around with their family.

Malatesta Temple

Malatesta Temple

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Inside the Malatesta Temple

Inside the Malatesta Temple

Inside the Malatesta Temple

Inside the Malatesta Temple

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From Rimini I took the train to Ravenna, about a two hour ride. Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman empire from 402 to 476, the entire city essentially is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Best known for it’s amazing Byzantine and Medieval mosaics, it also happens to have Dante’s tomb, where his actual remains rest (as opposed to his tomb in Florence), and be an amazing cultural center. I mainly visited due to the fact I had heard amazing things about the churches and mosaics but then when I found out Dante was laid to rest there, I couldn’t miss it.

Thankfully I was able to see his tomb, just before they closed it for cleaning. I spent some time in the courtyard just taking it all in. Suddenly this experience made me realize how real Dante was, how real all his characters and his words were. We study him so often as an example of literature or of politics but we think of all the characters as figments of a long distant history. Being in the spot he wrote, in and about, and being near to his last resting place suddenly the reality sinks in.

I was very happy to see all the mosaics and early churches, the most beautiful of which was San Vitale, but I was most happy to see the small tomb.

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Examples of some of the more interesting medieval mosaics of Ravenna.

Examples of some of the more interesting medieval mosaics of Ravenna.

The entire street Dante's tomb is on is a silent zone.

The entire street Dante’s tomb is on is a silent zone.

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The courtyard of Dante's tomb.

The courtyard of Dante’s tomb.

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San Vitale

San Vitale

San Vitale

San Vitale

Throwback Thursday

 

Fountain

 

 

I came across my old documents in Google Drive, and found my old photos I used for a final portfolio in my High School photography class.  It is so amazing to see how much I have improved, for starters I have done much less editing which I am happy about. Most of these evencame from my last trip to Rome before I came for school.

b&w leaves

 

 

This however if from Middlebury, we all needed a movement photo and this became the go to pose.

ChasingPigeons

 

The photo above is one of my favorites, it is just so cute. Also fun fact, there used to be a man standing in the center, I spent hours getting rid of the figure.

 

Image

 

Image

 What high school photographer would I be without a black and white photo of a dandelion?

Image Image

Doorway

Cloudy Day

meeting

Pigeon pillarsoflife Resting Roman Rose

When making everything but one item black and white was the coolest possible thing.Standing

 

 

 

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The Angels of Ponte Sant’Angelo

The Angels of Ponte SantAngelo

Leading up to Castel Sant’Angleo is what we now call the Ponte Sant’Angelo, however it has had many names. In the past it was known as Pons Aelius, that is Hadrian’s Bridge, as the structure which stands there is actually Hadrian’s Mausoleum. Later it was known as Pons Sancti Petri because pilgrims would take this bridge to read St. Peters Basilica.

Though the bridge looks beautiful today with its many angels draped in flowing cloth, it has quite a dark history. The bridge collapsed once killing many pilgrims who were trapped on it. It was then used a exhibition space for the bodies of executed criminals, much like the Appia Antica once was. Later under Pope Clement IX in 1669 the bridge was cleaned up and decorated with these angels.

Many books may say these angels were done by Bernini, however they were only completed under his school, and the two which Bernini actually worked on, the originals remain in Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, where they can be seen today.

There are 10 Angels, all holding symbols of the Passion, this includes: Column, Whips, Crown of Thorns, Sudarium, Garment and Dice, Nails, Cross, superscription, Sponge and lance. Every Angel was completed by a different member of Bernini s pupils.

Though Bernini did not personally work on every one, his style is obvious and each Angel is just as beautiful as any original work of his.

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Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

Figuring out how to get a moving water effect, and I must say I am pretty proud!

 

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Clouds over Barberini

Clouds over Barberini

(Click to enlarge.)
The clouds breakng over Piazza Barberini. Piazza Barberini is a 16th century square however the fountain shown here, named the Triton Fountain was done by Bernini in 1642.

The square is named Barberini for the Palace of the Barberini family located around the corner.

 

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Shooting with Old Lenses.

Shooting with Old Lenses.

I took some of my Dad’s old lenses while I was home and this is one of the few good results. Turns out my eyes do not know how to focus, so while something looked great through the viewfinder, it was a blurry mess once loaded.

Here is a balcony in Piazza Navona, and my attempt to capture this photogenic man. I also have finally decided to sell postcards of my photos and will probably start doing so in the Summer.

 

The Egyptian Collection in Torino

Some pieces of the Immortali exhibit

Some pieces of the Immortali exhibit

The painted dancer

The painted dancer

One of the Book of the Dead collection

One of the Book of the Dead collection

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One of the the first "mummies" from pre dynastic Egypt.

One of the the first “mummies” from pre dynastic Egypt.

Pieces from the pre-dynastic collection.

Pieces from the pre-dynastic collection.

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The Temple of Elleysia

The Temple of Elleysia

The Egyptian Museum of Torino is presently undergoing reconstruction, to make a larger exhibition space for their extensive collection. At the time to show as much of the collection as possible there is a special exhibition titled Immortali, as well as the stable collections of the pre dynastic artifacts, the tomb of Kha and the statue room. The Immortali exhibition will be on display from 2013 until the new museum space opening in 2015.

Upon arrival to the museum the entrance uses mirrors, and angled architecture to appear as if the visitor is inside a pyramid. There are signs as well as very kind ticket takers to direct visitors on the itineraries path. The new itinerary for the museum’s renovation begins with Immortali exhibit.This is located in the basement, the path then takes the visitor through the mummy storage space, where a few mummies are visible through windows, then upstairs to the Predynastic and Kha collections, and finally across the courtyard to the statue room and temple of Elleysia.

There are plenty of brochures in multiple languages for information on both the Immortali exhibit and the regular collections of the museum. However if any individual forgets to grab these at the entrance, information is everywhere throughout the museum, as well as more places to grab these brochures.

The first information sheet, being that for Immortali discusses the plans for the future museum and what its layout will be.The plan is for the museum to confirm the famous quote by JF Champollion “The road to Memphis and Thebes passe through Turin.”.

The aims of the Immortali exhibit are to share the artifacts of the cult of the afterlife. The ideas around the afterlife changed throughout periods in Ancient Egypt, this exhibit shows how it was respected and how it differed through the ages. THe exhibit presents artifacts and great pieces of art which take the visitor through a ” vast chronological path” which includes the New, Middle and Old Kingdom as well as the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

Each piece was chosen to show uniqueness of style or material showing a high degree of knowledge and skill as well as ambition of the nobles to tell of their own greatness.

The exhibition most definitely meets its intended aims. It is set up with different display cases and statue center pieces in chronological order. Each case has a large written plaque with in depth but easily read and understandable information about what that particular case shows. For example one case may describe how religion changed during the Middle Kingdom, then how it can be seen through the use of different gods, in different displays.  Another is how funerary practices changed in Roman and Ptolemaic Egypt, with tombs and funerary items to show this.

Each artifact is included with a small card explaining what it depicts, when it came from, when and where it was found, and how it is unique or different from other items of this type.

Though the artifacts seen are similar to those found in most other Egyptian collections from museums around the world, with a few marvelous exceptions such as that of a painted dancer a weaving display, and books of the dead; the Museo Egizio  presents them in such a way that a visitor  even with prior knowledge still walks away with a load of new information. The museum is a much better source even than most books suitible for non academics.

This exhibit is so well presented with such short yet helpful information, provided in both Italian and English (with the possibility of a French guide) that everyone can walk away with a better understanding of Ancient Egypt.

Tours are offered in many languages, and though Immortali has no special events of displays for children the museum has a whole provides children’s events. The most crowd-pleasing being that of a Halloween event.

The Museum was founded in 1824 under Savoy King Carlo Felice, from the collection of Bernardino Drovetti, Napoleons French Consul to Egypt. This original collection housed 5268 items. When Ernesto Schiapperelli was head of the museum, another 25000 objects were added, either through excavation or through auction.  The exhibit of the Tomb of Kha was provided to the museum upon it’s excavation in 1906, it included another 504 items. The Temple of Ellesiya was rescued with the help of the museum from the rising waters of Lake Nasser in 1965. In 1966 Egypt gave the temple to the country of Italy who then put it in the care of the museum.

The Museo Egizio prides themselves on their massive collection ranging over 4000 years. As well as the fact the make this collection and the ancient civilization accessible to everyone. One of their main aims is to present the entire range of Ancient Egyptian history in a clear and interesting way to all.

The Egyptian Museum of Torino succesfully achieves and even goes further than its aims. The museum is fun for those of all ages and levels of Egyptology knowledge *even those with none!). It provides thoughtful information which is easily read and understood. Providing visitors with much on  Ancient Egyptian life throughout the dynasties.

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 8:30am to 7:30pm. If you are in the area it is a must-see. The collection is fascinating and I can promise you will leave with a new interest in Egyptology and at least one artifact resonating with you.

If you are further away I do recommend a trip to Torino to visit not only this museum, but the many other attractions in the city. It might even be best to save a trip until 2015 when the newly renovated museum will be revealed.

 

What would you like to see in Rome?

Something a little different, I need some feedback from all of you and you friends, family, etc!

I am in a Cultural Heritage Management class and our final project is to come up with a plan to regenerate an area of Rome. These final plans will then be presented in front of ICCROM at their headquarters and have a potential for being picked up as a real project. For those of you who do not know who ICCROM is, they are an organization which works to conserve cultural heritage, they are one of the more successful organization working with UNESCO. You can check out more of what they do here: http://www.iccrom.org/

All of us already have a plan in mind, however it would be great to hear from people planning on visiting, who might have experienced or will experience the city differently from us. The point it to bring in more tourism to this area, so an idea of outsiders interests would be wonderful!

Here are the areas and idea’s for plans(apologies for lack of quality photos this area was difficult.):

1. An Airplane Hanger from the 1930’s. It was a personal gift from Hitler to Mussolini and held many of the small planes of WWII. It is empty and abandoned now, on one side is a car park for Roman police vehicles. Ideas that have been proposed for this area are mainly exhibition spaces, another museum similar to Montemartini, or maybe a gathering spot/restaurant with planes of the era to set a theme.

Inside of the Hanger

Inside of the Hanger

Looking in through the fence this is the present state of the hanger.

Looking in through the fence this is the present state of the hanger.

The outside entrance from the side of the Police car lot

The outside entrance from the side of the Police car lot

2. Pontifical Arsenal of the Baroque Period. This is set along the river, but with trees and overgrown areas blocking the view. It is an open space but has potential to be enclosed. It has two gates for Entry. This used to hold boats, when they were being repaired on Rome’s river Port. Post WWII it was the area where one could find stolen bicycles, made famous in the film  Ladri di Bicicletta. This street is used as a market on Sunday, however the building is closed off. I plan to present this with a long-term and short-term plan. Short term: put up walls, and turn it into a large warehouse coffeehouse, with Italian style bar, and music playing every few nights. Use this to raise money for the long-term plan. The long-term plan would be to cut the surrounding trees to open the view, add a second floor, have the ground floor as a bar and restaurant with the upstairs an exhibition space.

Front of he building from across the road.

Front of he building from across the road.

We were not allowed in but it is possible to see the slightly buttressed style inside.

We were not allowed in but it is possible to see the slightly buttressed style inside.

The back of the building as seen from the back yard of the store next door.

The back of the building as seen from the back yard of the store next door.

Through the gate it is possible to see a little more of the front end.

Through the gate it is possible to see a little more of the front end.

3. Roman Emporium, unfortunately I do not have pictures of this as it is under scaffolding. It it is a few ruined arches alongside the river, it can only be used in Summer as it is along the river and the river often floods. It needs constant cleaning, has a few ceilings and is very important to the Roman history of this area. We are lost on plans for this except the possibility to integrate it into a summer bar as it is beside two night life areas.

4. The GIL, a youth fascist building. Presently this is a great example of architecture of the Fascist period, done by Luigi Moretti, a famous architect of the time. Walls have been added inside to separate the part of the building owned by Commune di Roma and Regione Lazio. Roma’s side is a gym and pool, complete with soccer fields outside. Lazios side is an exhibition space for presently photography, then there are many open rooms available for use, including a movie theater.  The plans presented for this were to open the surrounding area to better accentuate the architecture, then possibly an outdoor bar, and make it a community building, connecting the two sides.

The front of the building, this is the half that belongs to Regione Lazio

The front of the building, this is the half that belongs to Regione Lazio

Inside the exhibition space

Inside the exhibition space

Left over decoration from Mussolini

Left over decoration from Mussolini

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So please tell us if you would be interested in any of these ideas! And if you have other ideas that would more likely bring you to this area please share them! We are trying to come up with a reachable plan that will bring tourists to the great historic area of Rome.

 

A second snapshot of Torino

Throughout the arch covered walkways of the cities there were many little vendors, most of which were used and antique books.

Throughout the arch covered walkways of the city there were many little vendors, most of which were used and antique books.

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Statue found outside Gran Madre di Dio

Statue found outside Gran Madre di Dio

View from Gran Madre di Dio.

View from Gran Madre di Dio.

Taking a break before the Molle.

Taking a break before the Molle.

An autumn walk along the River Po.

An autumn walk along the River Po.