About Me

Apr 23, 2012

Bernini, a workaholic.

Rape of Proserpina (detail).
Borghese Gallery
Bernini said that if he put together all the hours he spent on meals and sleep in his lifetime, he doubted whether they would add up to a full month.
He would labor for seven hours without interruption on a block of marble.
Often Bernini proceeded without a terra-cotta model and sometimes even without a subject in front of him, realizing a vision that resided in his mind.

Apr 21, 2012

Joyce: insensible to the charm of Rome.

In 1906 Joyce resided in Rome in very humble room in Via di Monte Brianzo. 
In a letter to his brother Stanislaus he admitted I must be a very insensible person.  Yesterday I went to see the Forum.  I sat down on a stone bench overlooking the ruins. 
It was hot and sunny.  Carriages full of tourists, postcard sellers, medal sellers, photograph sellers.  I was so moved that I almost fell asleep and had to rise brusquely. 
I looked at the stone bench ruefully but it was too hard and the grass near the Colosseum was too far.  So I went home sadly. 
Rome reminds me of a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother's corpse.  It was a the bleakest period of his life, he started drinking and did not write a single line except daily letters to his brother but it's precisely in Rome and in those months that the idea of Ulysses germinated.

Apr 20, 2012

Antinous and the ideal of beauty

The past exhibition running from 5 April to 4 November 2012 (Hadrian's Villa Antiquarium, Tivoli) focused on the relationship between the Emperor Hadrian and Antinous, a supremely beautiful youth he met in Bithynia. 
Sculptures, bas relief, gemstones, and coins presumably found in Hadrian’s Villa, a series of portraits depicting Hadrian and Antinous.  Works discovered in the Antinoeion, the room built in Antinous’s honour in Tivoli.
The exhibition also provided an opportunity to document the rest of the architectural complex unearthed between 2002 and 2005 during the archaeological digs.
Antinoo mysteriously drowned at in 130 AD as he was travelling upstream on the Nile.
The city of Antinopolis was founded near the site where he died, a holiday was established on the 27th of November, Antinous’s birthday.
In the following years a legend grew around the figure of Antinous: Egyptian priests began to depict him with the likeness of Osiris, the greatest divinity in ancient Egypt.