Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Open Courtyards, Rome

John and I took a little tour of the Open Courtyards of Rome last week. The weekend-long event allows the public to enter palatial courtyards that are usually closed.
 We began with the elegant courtyard of Palazzo Della Valle
 and were allowed to climb the stairs to its gorgeously decorated reception room
 with its huge fireplace
and enjoyed the view down into the courtyard. 
 
 As we left the palace we could see that our tour was going to be fun!
The courtyard of the next palace, the Palazzo Pasolini Dall'Onda, was small but featured an incredible Baroque fountain that dwarfed both me and the space.
 It also held a group of caged stones that were probably for restoration of their pavements but made us think of the installations of contemporary artists.
Our next stop was the Palazzo del Gallo in the Piazza Farnese.
Again we were allowed to climb the wonderful staircase that dominates the courtyard.
 I loved this terrace that became apparent as we climbed. Wouldn't this be a dreamy airbnb sanctuary!
 Last but not least of our courtyard visits was to the Palazzo Capponi Antonelli. This elegant courtyard leads to a gorgeous, hidden garden.
 The building seen from the garden looks like the set to a wonderful ghost story.
As one climbs the stairs visitors are treated 
 to a view of the lush planting below. 
 We imagined a legend of a mysterious woman who would occasionally appear in the garden below.
What a treat to be able to visit some of the beautiful spots that are usually hidden. We took the magic of their beauty back into the wet streets of Rome.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mapplethorpe at Gallerie Corsini, Rome

Celebrations of the thirtieth anniversary of Robert Mapplethorpe's death are taking place around the world. Bill and I have already reported on the must-see show at the MADRE in Naples.
The Corsini Gallery in Rome is participating by installing a selection of Mapplethorpe's photographs amongst their collection of 16th and 17th century art.
Many of the juxtapositions are straightforward -- the sculptural nudes of Ajitto (1981) are paired with bronze wrestlers. 
The art in the Corsini collection was arranged in the 18th century and has not changed since then. Mapplethorpe's black and white photos stand out on the walls.
 Ken and Lydia and Tyler, 1985.
 Mapplethorpe liked traditional art. He and his partner filled their NYC apartment with both traditional and modern art. (Italian Devil, 1988)
A closer look at Italian Devil.
Mapplethorpe was interested in traditional ways of representing the human figure and enjoyed using conventional motifs for his own expressive ends. (Harry Lunn, 1976) 
 Harry Lunn with unidentified Cardinal.
Black Bust, 1988/Apollo, 1988
 Marus Leatherdale, 1978, with some hunting sculptures.
Marus Leatherdale
The installation concludes with a traditional setting for photographs -- against a red wall.
Holly Soloman, 1976/Carol Overby, 1979
Jack-in-the-pulpit, 1988
Female Torso, 1978/Lisa Lyon, 1980
Lisa Lyon
I love the level of abstraction Mapplethorpe has achieved here. Especially that strange headless line along the top of the torso.
We exited the Corsini past a formal collection of busts. Bet Mapplethorpe would have liked these.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

People in Rome

 People-watching is always a pleasure in Rome.
Let's begin with this oarsman beginning his sprint on the Tiber
and pass this workman painting a screen in his workshop
or this fellow selling wares with an avian bystander
or this visitor to the Barbarini Collection
or this young fellow taking a rest in one of Rome's many churches
or this doorman at a Bulgari shop        
ot a lady checking in on her break
or this elderly couple taking a stroll in the rain
or a paver repairing a monastery courtyard
or a cellist working the Ponte Sisto
or a waiter adjusting his friend's suspender
or an elegant barman pouring a glass of wine
or a cook checking his emails
or a couple of friends recording a light show
or a fashionable young lady displaying her shaggy jacket
or this dapper gent on the Via Condotti
or these priests passing through the Parione neighbourhood
and end with this clergyman slipping off to his next destination by bike.