Sunday, May 12, 2013


     So, I know the recent posts about Italy have been a bit lacking in text, but let's face it— what you really want is to look at the pictures! Here is the last post on Italy, about Rome, in which we stayed for three days and two nights.

(St. Peter's Basilica) 
     After dropping off our bags, we walked down to the Vatican to check out all the art we had studied throughout college. The Vatican has many of the most famous artworks in history. 

(The Laocoon, first century B.C. He is being strangled by a snake after trying to tell the Trojans about the Greek's Trojan horse)

[A map in the geographical map room of the Vatican museum]

[The School Of Athens by Raphael, 1510. It depicts many of the classical figures of antiquity, including Plato (in red, center), Aristotle (in blue, center), Socrates (green), Michelangelo (foreground, hand on head)...]

(Apollo Belvedere, 2nd century B.C. It is considered one of the most beautiful examples of sculpture, depicts Apollo having just released an arrow.)

     And of course the Vatican also features the Sistine chapel, the ceiling of which was painted by Michelangelo at the same time Raphael was painting The School Of Athens. Purportedly, Raphael peeked into the chapel to see how things we going, and was so impressed he painted Michelangelo in the foreground of his work-in-progress. 

(Trajan's Column, finished in 113AD, which commemorates the emperor's victory in the Dacian Wars. The spiraling base tells the story of the war. The column is about 100ft tall.)

[Detail of Trajan's Column, full moon (or very nearly) behind.]

(The Roman Colosseum, 70AD.)

(The Pantheon, rebuilt in 126AD, a beautifully symmetric building, with the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Still. Raphael's tomb is inside. Below is a picture of the dome from inside.)

(You can drink the water from all public fountains. And there are many. Rome has some of the cleanest water in the world.)

(Fountain in Piazza della Rotonda, opposite the Pantheon.)

(Detail of the Fountain of the Four Rivers, by Bernini, 1651. Bernini is credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. Borromini, a rival sculptor of Bernini, was originally employed to create the  fountain because Bernini didn't get along with the current pope, Innocent X, but in the end the pope saw Bernini's model plan and awarded construction to him. The four river gods in the fountain are all facing away from the church behind, Sant'Agnese in Agone, because it was constructed by Borromini.) 

(Throwing a coin into Trevi Fountain, 1732-1762)

(View from the Spanish Steps, 1723-1725)

(Partial view of the ancient Roman Forum, the center of Rome from the end of the 6th century BC until the 1st century AD)

     And on the last day, to distill the saturation of antiquity, we went to a Helmut Newton exhibit at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni museum. Helmut Newton was an innovative 20th century fashion photographer, famous for his insertion of nudity into fashion photography. We saw many photos from three of his books: White Women, Sleepless Nights, and Big Nudes
     We enjoyed Rome a lot. Even though you can't throw a stone without hitting a world treasure, the city is big enough that you can walk around without feeling too touristy, and since a lot of the sites are outdoors, you can see some attractions even after the museums close. 

1 comment:

  1. WOW! I would comment on my favorite photo, but I that would be all of them. Ok, I do like the moon one, and the Roman Forum, and the view from the Spanish Steps (I was there 41 years ago!), and Trevi Fountain (ditto), and the clear water, and the Pantheon, and the Colosseum, and the tapestry, and... well, all of the photos! Well done :-)