2017.02.11 Day 1 Week 7
I began week seven by taking two full days in the great city of Rome. I started this morning with a 45 minute stroll from my hotel (Relais Orso) to the Spanish Steps, then on to the Galleria Borghese in the Villa Borghese park. My timed entry to the Galeria was for 11AM so I had about an hour to walk the park.
As is common knowledge, the Galleria Borghese is one of the greatest collections of art in the world still in their original setting as collected by its owner, Cardinal Scipione Borghese. A few pieces were sold off (no choice) to Napoloen in the early 1800’s (they can be seen in the Louvre) but all in all it is a terrific 2 hours—since this is the maximum time allowed per visit. Needless to say I had my favorites to go see first. Sadly, one of my favorites was on loan to a museum in Milan: St Jerome by Caravaggio. However, in all their glory were St John The Baptist; Madonna, Child and Serpent; Boy with a Basket of Fruit; Bacchus; and Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio. Of course, the Bernini sculptures of Apollo and Daphne and the Rape of Proserpina were highlights—given that we have studied these for their great “gestural” and “designed” qualities and motion. The Rafael “Lady with a Unicorn” was surprisingly nice–I must have sailed past this one in years past. I am not a fan of the Napoleon’s sisters nude sculpture by Canova but do appreciate the masterful sculpting–especially the tautness of the bed cover.
After the Galeria Borghese, I walked to the Church of St Louis of the French. This church was begun in 1518 and completed in 1589. An interesting bit of trivia: this is where Martin Luther stayed when he was in Rome for his trial that was being held at the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva near the Pantheon. It houses the three painting cycle of St Mathew by Caravaggio. These painting, left to right, are 1) The Calling of St Matthew, 2) The Inspiration of St Matthew and 3) The Martyrdom of St Matthew. Without a doubt, these are my three favorite paintings by Caravaggio (with the stated exception of St Jerome). Despite the crowds and the fact that a coin had to be dropped into the light pay-box every two minutes, it was a breathtaking experience.
After being drained emotionally by seeing these masterpieces, I strolled over to Piazza Navona for a little people watching. In the evening I will try Nest Osteria on the recommendations of friends. The online reviews are mixed but I trust their judgement.
Today I walked eight miles.
2017.02.12 Day 2 Week 7
Spent the first 2 hours today at the Palazzo Braschi’s retrospective exhibition of Artemisia Gentileschi—who was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio (but controversially our Maestro at the Angel Academy did not speak too highly of her. I have to better understand his reservations).
For those who know her story you will not be surprised to see so many males being killed. Susan Vreeland’s novel “The Passion of Artemisia: A Novel” will help you understand. Know that she was raped by a friend of her father (Tomasi), it went to trial (transcripts are available), she had an abusive relationship with her brother and father (who taught her painting starting at age 12—and himself a court painted for the English court). Despite it all “she persisted”.
Following this exhibition, I lit 3 candles for my three deceased soft coated Wheaton terriers (Alex, Abby and Simon) today in Rome’s only true gothic church today, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva located behind the Pantheon. Michelangelo’s Christ the Redeemer statue is located. The loin cloth was welded over Jesus’ genitalia years later. Mass was being held so I could not get a close up photograph.
Then. I headed over to Galleria Doria Pamphilj. This private museum was built by Pope Innocent the X. I always love the Velasquez’s Pope Innocent I (of course an inspiration for many artist including Francis Bacon), Bernini’s companion sculpture, the Titians, Riberas and of course the Caravaggios. Beautiful and very quiet. Almost no tourist.
Finally, I strolled through the upper viewing platforms of the Forum and the Colosseum. The weather was spectacular. It was nice that so much of the are is now pedestrianized. In the past it was a struggle with the crowds weaving into and out of the traffic. Following this visit, I took the metro and visited Bernini’s plaza at St Peter’s in Vatican City and then walked home.
The only down side of the entire weekend is that I injured my shoulder. I have no idea how it happened but it is now very painful and I am limited in the drawing I can accomplish. I am taking anti-inflammatory medicine. It that does not clear it up i will be in for an X-ray and doctor’s visit.
2017.02.13 Day 3 Week 7 Class 26
Today was a real struggle with my injured shoulder. I could not lift my arm which meant my work was not well done and it took much longer. We shall see how the week progresses. I return this morning from Rome so only had a half day. In the afternoon we worked on a one-day pose. I was not pleased with my efforts. I went home a bit depressed.
2017.02.14-.17 Day 4-7 Week 7 Class 27-30
I missed the rest of the week because of the soreness of my shoulder. Update on the shoulder: Met today (Thursday) with a very nice and thorough orthopedic surgeon. Good news is that there is not floating bone/calcium deposits. Surgery is not necessary. The inflammation is from fluid build up from over-use and extended use in one repetitive activity (of course…). I will get up to three cortisone shots over the next 3 weeks. Based on his observation of the X-rays and physical examination, he thinks I will need no more than 2. Bad news is I cannot work as hard as I have been and will have to take breaks more often. I can live with that. I also can go off the codeine and just stay with the anti-inflammatory Naproxen 2X per day for 2 weeks. So next week I think I can begin with the Bargue work (done sitting done at a table and no arm lifting) but will wait 2 weeks for the standing figurative work–depending on his last examination of my shoulder in 2 1/2 weeks. That will put me three weeks behind–but I an not running a race.