In a moment of mad enthusiasm, I decided to attend a wedding party on the Appian Way, which was fine in theory, only the British Airways flight was delayed a couple of hours, so I missed the actual ceremony. But I was able to enjoy the Appian Way as the sun went down, the gypsy band and the assembled multitude of wellwishers from all over the world:-
The last great treat of my all-too-brief stay in Rome was crossing the Tiber to Trastevere to see the Villa Farnesina. I had been once before and been disappointed by Peruzzi’s architecture and the fact that it is neither quite a palace, nor a properly suburban villa. But this time, we arrived early, had it to ourselves, and the eyes of two painters helped me appreciate the incredible richness and variety of the wall paintings, not just Raphael’s, but his pupils and followers and workshop, decorating room after room: the permeability with the garden, the free enjoyment of classical mythology, the enjoyment and observation of the natural world, birds, flowers and animals. This was presumably all part of the make-belief ruralism of Agostino Chigi and his banking friends, contemporary with Giorgione and more than a century before Claude. We started with Raphael’s Galatea:
We liked the junctions with the fictive hangings below:
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:
I arrived in Rome on a humid summer night to see the President’s exhibition of his classical sculpture and two much more loosely painted and allusive works which I had not seen before (it doesn’t really come out in the photograph):
The exhibition was held jointly with Enzo Cucchi and afterwards we repaired to the roof terrace of a hotel on the Via Giulia, where the moon shone. I had forgotten how beautiful Rome is. The baroque churches: