My second post from Rome has disappeared obstinately into the digital ether, so what follows is an attempt to reconstruct it.
We spent the latter part of the morning exploring S. Clemente, a wonderful church, built in the era of the Emperor Constantine on top of a Mithraic temple which survives in the deep basement. We arrived first in the courtyard:
Admired the Byzantine mosaic in the apse:
And then explored the levels below, where the walls were built out of classical remains:
We then headed off to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, a grand neoclassical building in the grounds of the Villa Borghese, almost completely empty of tourists, but with a good collection of modern Italian painting. There’s a fine Klimt:
A portrait of Verdi by Boldini:
A remarkable self-portrait by de Chirico:
We had a leisurely lunch on the terrace outside (I strongly recommend it) and then went to try and see the Caravaggios in S. Luigi dei Francesi. But it’s closed on Thursday afternoon.
Later in the evening, we all met up for a drink on a terrace perched above the centre of Rome. It was a stormy evening. One could see the Pantheon:
S. Andrea della Valle:
And St. Peter’s itself framed by the night sky:
I took photographs of the two artists in whose honour we were meeting. The President:
And Enzo Cucchi:
After eating wild strawberries, we walked through the ghetto to the Campidoglio. It had been set up as if for a rock concert, with bright lights and a Steinway piano. We were under the watchful gaze of Marcus Aurelius:
We were treated to an evening of poetry readings, interspersed with a piano recital and images of the work of Enzo Cucchi, Francesco Clemente, Christopher Le Brun and Rosemarie Trockel on the big screen, helped or hindered by the fact that there was an adjacent demonstration by animal rights activists which nearly drowned out the poetry: