Our second week in Rome

We’ve been here for two weeks, time is passing and I feel like it’s already getting away from us. My classes started this week and I’m looking forward to learning and creating quite a lot this semester. In three of my four classes, we were out and about in Rome, taking photos, drawing and visiting a planned sports complex from the 1920s that is still in use today.

On one day, I was sketching outside the Ara Pacis building and then in the Piazza del Popolo, which is very close to school. I’m delighted to find out it’s OK for Pat to join us sketching around the city, we haven’t had an art class together since…..jeez, I dunno.

My other studio class is digital imaging. For all my photography experience, I’ve never taken a class. Spending lots of time with Jack doing photo shoots and darkroom stuff counts for something though. After a quick run through the manual camera controls in the classroom, we headed out again to the church of Santa Maria del Popolo to take photos. There was also a sketching class from Temple there at the same time. What fun it was to finally be allowed to take some photos in a church.
Santa Maria del Popolo

Wendy’s archeology course was also out and about this week and I followed her to Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio so I could take pictures for my photo class and gaze at the incredible bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius while she and her classmates were lectured about the surroundings.
I guess the artist of the week is Bernini. On my way back from the Campidoglio, I found myself taking photos of the captivating angels on the Ponte Sant Angelo, each holding some implement of the torture of Christ. So I’m thinking of them now as the sadistic angels. Of course, then I realized they were done by Bernini.

Italian is the only class that doesn’t involve some kind of weekly field trip, but that’s OK because the learning lab for this course is all around us. We’re definitely picking up more. On Friday morning, Pat and I had what could be called the beginnings of a conversation with the guy who sells breads and cheeses in the market. I know I won’t be fluent by the end of the semester, but I hope to be able to navigate more of daily life without  “Parla Inglese?” (do you speak English?)

Fridays I don’t have class so we’re trying to make that our museum day. We decided to head to the Borghese Gallery by walking through the Borghese gardens, which was quite a hike by the time we returned.

Pat and I were really looking forward to the Bernini sculptures, but I wasn’t prepared for the galleries themselves. In fact, I felt like I was picking up my jaw in every room. The walls, the ceilings, the floors…it’s indescribable and every inch is filled with astounding incredible art spanning from antiquity to Neoclassicism. Wendy enjoyed the frescoes as they relate to her fresco class and pointed out several interesting pieces that I completely overlooked.

But even so, Bernini steals the show. No question. Apollo and Daphne has to be the most well executed marble sculpture I have ever seen. I’ve seen it online, in video, etc. But nothing prepared me for the real thing. Pat and I must have spent at least 20 minutes of our allotted two hours not wanting to tear our eyes from it. Sadly I have no photos of the inside of the Borghese Gallery. It’s not permitted.

Rome is such a mix of old and new, fast and slow. I’m only beginning to understand why they call it “The Eternal City.”

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