Saturday, August 05, 2006
When in Rome............
Some pictures of the Colosseum and the view from St Peter's Basilica when I visited Rome a couple of months back with S and R.
St Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world. It stands at one corner of a large square (piazza) and it is from here that the Pope addresses a congregation every other week. Inside the basilica, the sheer scale of art is overwhelming. Massive, intricate sculptures and paintings adorn every inch of available space on the walls and ceilings. A little prayer hall is located at one corner of the basilica. As one enters the prayer hall, one is gripped by a powerful energy, a deep silence, an absolute blankness of the mind and heart. I could not contain myself and completely broke down…an exquisite experience and to me, the most special part of my trip to Rome.
Rome has a very old city feel to it, full of monuments and sculptures leaping out of every little piazza when one is least expecting it. My favorite is the Fontana di Trevi, which we ended up visiting twice, once in daylight and then again at night. It is the most spectacular sight at night - gleaming white sculptures set off against the blackish blue water. What is it about water and me!??! I am irresistibly drawn to it in all its various forms - rivers, the sea, rain, even the water flowing of a glass wall in my office in a not-so-successful attempt to create a river like effect! Perhaps it is the continuous movement or rather it's undercurrent that is engaging, almost as if to mock the insignificance of man and our limited thoughts. But at other times, I look for the stillness to calm, soothe. I guess I am just a water person and should leave it at that. Like some others I know who love the mountains, some who have a great affinity for snow, some the sand, some green fields. I have often wondered why this is the case - what makes different individuals drawn to different elements - is it simply the memories of a past experience or is it some strain of ingrained personality reaching out?
An evening I really enjoyed was at the Piazza Novona. It is a huge square filled with three magnificent sets of sculptures with fountains and surrounded by little restaurants all around. Inside the piazza, there are rows of artists selling their collections mostly on the Roman architecture. I bought paintings of the Trevi in water and almost bought another in oil. The one in oil was really expensive and done with sharp powerful strokes and thick coats of paint - had a strange urge to bite the paint off the canvas...kaaachhhhhh. Also, it smelt amazing. I love the smell of paint, especially oil paint and everything that goes into the making of an oil - painting - the turpentine, linseed oil, kerosene - it’s a heady mix. Its one of my quirks :-) (the other one being buying stationery. I have the most orgasmic expressions inside a stationery store :-) Hmm ...new idea just occurred - should start a stationery retail chain someday and be in permanent orgasmic state!)
Rome truly is a center for art; one can feel the renaissance all over in the air. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, they are omnipresent. In fact, the Vatican museum has some lovely collections of Raphael. The professional artists in Rome receive a tremendous amount of patronage. Made my heart ache for all our wonderfully talented artists back home, languishing for lack of sponsors. Made a mental scribble of another item on To Do when back home - market making for Indian not so established painters.
An interesting observation was the food - the pizzas in Italy are made of an extremely thin base and eaten as one whole dish, quite a difference from the regular fare offered by the western fast food chains.
Italy has so much to offer - art, food, fashion, spectacular natural beauty, the pope, football, above all, the most wonderful, fun loving people…..a country truly rich in culture. Hope to visit Venice, Florence and Pisa during the next trip.
Acrylic (with knives only) on canvas