Tuesday I got to do one of the great comparison questions live. Borromini’s San Carlo alle quattro fontane and Bernini’s Sant’Andrea al Quirinale are a five minute walk apart. So we visited both of them. I prefer San Carlino, but there’s is lots that is great about Sant’Andrea – especially the broken pediment with St Andrew being carried up to heaven on a cloud. Still, the interlocking coffers in decreasing size as the eye runs up the dome at San Carlino? Magic.
This is the Ponte della Musica, a 21st century pedestrian/bike bridge that connects the Flaminio neighborhood to the Foro Italico/Monte Mario area – and yes, that’s the dome of St Peter’s in the distance.
The center is a paved bike zone, but most people seem to prefer the boardwalk sides. He’s pedaling toward Flaminio, MAXXI, and the Auditorium. This far up the Tiber there are lots of rowers and kayakers – if you look closely, one of those 4s is kayaking rather than rowing.
I was on my way to meet the class at Foro Italico to talk about Fascist architecture – it’s nice to see some other Modern work in Rome. Otherwise, Rome doesn’t have a lot of very interesting architecture since World War II.
There’s another 21st Century bridge about as far downstream from Tiber Island as Ponte della Musica is upstream – I thought I had blogged about it earlier, but evidently not! So I promise to rustle up some of those pictures and post them.
We’re headed to Milan this weekend and I’m scrambling to reread everything I can about the cathedral – it’s a VERY big building with a VERY complicated building history!
further: and I remembered to pop my battery into the charger this morning! The battery on my new (last fall) Nikon D3100 lasts approximately forever – and I’ve already had one “damn it, my battery’s dead!” incident this semester because of that.
I had seen a few blossoms in the Centro Storico – but the Centro is so paved over they’re hard to find here.
So I went to the Parco degli acquedotti, where there were lots of blossoms! Click here to see the other photos from the park, including some of the Acqua Claudia. The arches in the background are the Acqua Felice, a Renaissance aqueduct, which feeds the famous Moses fountain.
I intended to do some drawing, but between going down into the Metro system and coming back up out in the periphery the clouds rolled in. It even sprinkled some – enough to make me cuss, but not enough to make me run away.
Walking away from Piazza Navano. Santa Maria dell’Anima, whose spire is on the left, is a German language church – and what’s more, it’s a German Hallenkirche! Very unusual in Rome.
Christine, my colleague, asked me some day this week if there was anything in Rome I was over (though she put it more gracefully). I had to admit that I don’t go to the Colosseum except with students. You come visit me in Rome, I’ll point out that the Metro stop is called “Colosseo” and that admission to the monument costs €12 – but your ticket will get you into the much more interesting Forum and Palatine.
I dunno – it’s structurally very interesting, if you’ve never thought about that kind of thing before; Romans had been building things like this for more than a century, since the Theater of Pompey. The gladiator shows and beast shows tell us a lot about the unpleasant side of the Romans (human sacrifice and animal-torture?). The only thing that really interests me are the legally established seating arrangements – if you walked into the Flavian Amphitheater you would see senators (and Vestal Virgins) down front, the Equites (Knights) behind them, and then regular citizens. Slaves and women to the rear!
I could explain that at any number of sites, but I will say that everyone seems to enjoy at least one visit to the Colosseum. I just kind of wish I didn’t have to go, too! I hope that didn’t come across – unlike the poor fella at Rutgers who explained he was not teaching the “Human Aggression” course voluntarily, because it isn’t really his field. Never admit your weakness! You always know more than they do. God knows I know more about the Flavian Amphitheater than I care to tell my charges. On to the Ara Pacis tomorrow! THAT I care about.
I don’t know what it is about them, but I do love columns in entasis* – that is, contained inside the width of a wall (as though the wall is hollowed out around them). Michelangelo liked them, too – and used them on the Palazzo Nuovo on the Capitoline.
*eeek – “in antis.” My brain was not working right.
Funny strange, not funny ha ha. This inscription is from a chapel at the church Sant’Ignazio (the former chapel of the Jesuit Collegio Romano) – and the date is XIMM: 1989. I would have written that MCMLXXXIX. I think the longer number, though harder to read, would have made a more elegant last line in better balance with the rest. But I wasn’t paying, so I really shouldn’t complain! I guess the system is really more flexible than we Latin teachers like to make out.
After the official Orientation by our Italian partners, I took the students on a quick walk to Largo Argentina, the Pantheon, and Campo dei Fiori (for lunch). They had been in Rome for almost 24 hours without having seen the Pantheon, and I wasn’t going to put up with much more of it.
That’s your loyal, if lately somewhat irregular, author leaning against a column at the Great Church in 2009.
This really is one of the highlights of any semester for me – the building is such a perfect contrast to the Pantheon, which we studied just a few weeks ago. They exemplify very different approaches to architecture – both their structural systems and their handling of space. We really don’t know what the Pantheon was for, but Hagia Sophia is a really interesting synthesis of basilica and rotunda. I think the Great Church may have been the perfect vessel for the imperial liturgy – goodness knows it worked for 900 years. I can even understand it working as a preaching space, something I’m never so convinced about for basilicas of a similar scale before artificial amplification.
This is a good piece in Crisis about the theological failure of modernist altar ensembles inserted into Baroque churches – using the Gesu in Rome as a particularly sad example. And it’s also quite recent! Thinks are not improving all over.
Even if what you’re trying to call to mind is (crackpot) 18th C. theories that Gothic architecture arose from pre-Roman tribes weaving huts out of branches, don’t use the word druid in your searches. Just wait till you get to the office in the morning and can check a book.
Well, despite the cliche, most of these castles are in France. But they’re bargains!
A great story of Robert Schuller, the Crystal Cathedral, and it’s current state – as a Roman Catholic cathedral. Cults of personality never last – one of the most important reasons I’m a Roman Catholic today.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s book Spiritual Passages, which reduces (self-admittedly) convert motivation to the One, the Good, the True, or the Beautiful spoke to me. Despite what you might think (I’m an art historian – don’t I love the Beautiful?), I am closer to those called to the One. Schism offends me. All that reciting of “the holy catholic church” as a child, partly because of all the footnotes and explanations that “catholic” mean “universal, world wide” rather than Roman Catholic, sank in. I mean, was the Southern Presbyterian Church either universal or world wide in any serious way? I had acquaintances who were children of missionaries in Zaire – but that was about it.
Presbyterianism is a beautiful system: local deacons and elders, near-regionally elected representatives (presbyteries), regional synods, and a national general assembly. But one of the things a man like me learns during his graduate course work is that, pace Jean Calvin, this is not what the evidence shows us about what we can discern about the Church in the brief apostolic period, let alone by 100 A.D. So don’t go claiming that this is Jesus’s preferred model.
There’s lots of room for argument, but I gave it all a lot of thought and submitted to Holy Mother the Roman Catholic Church. All the rest has been clear enough for the last 25 years, if not always easy to live up to. I mean, I’m a big ol’ sinner – but then, I reassure myself, so are those parents of one child headed up to receive.