Category Archives: Art

Rome Centro

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

Since it’s been almost two years since my trip to Italy, it’s way past time to post my pictures.  I was going to try and write clever posts to go along with everything but at this point, I’m thinking it would be better to just get the pictures up.

I few words about Rome.  After living in Paris for six months, I kind of got used to European city = clean and pretty.  That’s not Rome.  Rome is old and dirty; it’s been there forever, and it’s still going to be there whether it’s black on the outside or not.  France’s economy is better so they have more money to wash down the sidewalks every single day; plus the French would rather something look good than be functional.  Romans don’t have anything to prove.  It’s almost as if they’re saying we were the rulers of the world 2,000 years ago.  Whatever.

True to the Italian mentality for business, there isn’t a whole lot of tourist help.  People are friendly and many people speak English, but I guess I was used to Paris, which has signs and maps everywhere.  It’s one of the only areas where the French are completely organized.  Romans not so much.  I kept looking for street signs but mostly there aren’t any.  Of course Paris razed most of its older neighborhoods in the 19th century to make way for the grand boulevards.  Rome has maintained its ancient streets, which, because they grew up over centuries instead of by urban planning, make no sense whatsoever.  It’s charming in one way and frustrating in another because no street is straight and most of them are really short, only a couple of blocks.  I observed that in Paris as well, but it’s even more prevalent in Rome.  The streets are narrow and cobblestoned.  You really can’t plan a route.  You need to just head in a general direction and go where the streets lead.  Sometimes it means you end up going in a completely different direction than you thought but it can lead to some really great discoveries.

I had to laugh when I overheard two American women looking at a very basic tourist map of Rome and saying that they needed to simplify the map because there were too many street names.  Sorry, that’s Rome.  Embrace it.

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

Via Giulia, Rome

Via Giulia, Rome

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Trajan's Column, Rome

Trajan’s Column, Rome

Trajan's Column, Rome

Trajan’s Column, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

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Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the typewriter, Rome

Detail of San Luigi de Francesi Church, Rome

Detail of San Luigi de Francesi Church, Rome

San Luigi de Francesi Church, Rome

San Luigi de Francesi Church, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza Navona, Rome

Balcony in Piazza Navona, Rome

Balcony in Piazza Navona, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Not your typical clothing store, Rome

Not your typical clothing store, Rome

Not your typical clothing store, Rome

Not your typical clothing store, Rome

Via dei Lucchesi, Rome

Via dei Lucchesi, Rome

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Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica, Rome

Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica, Rome

Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica, Rome

Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica, Rome

Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica, Rome

Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica, Rome

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Trinita dei Monti Church, Rome

Trinita dei Monti Church, Rome

Trinita dei Monti Church, Rome

Trinita dei Monti Church, Rome

Spanish Steps looking down Via Condotti, Rome

Spanish Steps looking down Via Condotti, Rome

Spanish Steps, Rome

Spanish Steps, Rome

The Rodeo Drive of Rome

The Rodeo Drive of Rome

I love the door handle in the shape of a shoe, Rome

I love the door handle in the shape of a shoe, Rome

A taste of Paris in Rome

A taste of Paris in Rome

Spanish Steps, Rome

Spanish Steps, Rome

Piazza di Spagna, Rome

Piazza di Spagna, Rome

Piazza di Spagna, Rome

Piazza di Spagna, Rome

With beige in the window, Rome

With beige in the window, Rome

Piazza Colonna, Rome

Piazza Colonna, Rome

Castel Sant' Angelo from Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome

Castel Sant’ Angelo from Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome

Via dei Cappellari, Rome

Via dei Cappellari, Rome

La Rincente Galleria, Rome

La Rincente Galleria, Rome

Building overlooking the Trevi Fountain, Rome

Building overlooking the Trevi Fountain, Rome

Hordes of Tourists at the Trevi Fountain, Rome

Hordes of Tourists at the Trevi Fountain, Rome

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

Book: I am Madame X

Madame X

I was recently reading about the exhibition of John Singer Sargent’s watercolors at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and remembered a book that had come out years ago about the woman who had posed for his Madame X portrait, the painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that originally caused an uproar in Paris because the woman’s strap had fallen off her shoulder.  This was deemed too sexual and provocative back in the day.

I kept meaning to read the book but never did, so I picked it up and am thoroughly glad I did.  It tells the story of Virginie Gautreau, a French Creole from Louisiana who fled with her mother to Paris during the Civil War and became a fixture on the social  scene, partly for her scandalous behavior (at least scandalous at the time.)

Gioia Diliberto, the author of I am Madame X, is a scholar and had planned on writing a well-researched nonfiction book about Virginie Gautreau but found that there wasn’t any source material.  Almost nothing is known about the women other than basic facts and what was written about her in gossip columns, and we all know how accurate they are.  Instead, she wrote a novel that incorporates as much history as she can.

On a side note, as phenomenal as Sargent’s portrait is, I have to say he diluted its impact when he repainted the strap so that it was on her shoulder.  I wish he hadn’t buckled to public outcry and moral judgment because in my opinion, the original painting with the fallen strap is much more interesting.  It’s a reminder to always stay true to yourself and not be cowed by pressure from people who don’t have your vision or perspective.

David Wiseman

I was reading the June issue of Architectural Digest and made two discoveries on the same page.  Although I’m pretty sure I’ve seen David Wiseman‘s work before, I can’t quite remember where and this is the first time I have a name to put with the beautiful work.  Wiseman works in ceramics, glass and metal crafting amazing nature-inspired lighting, furniture and installations.  I really like the flowers crawling along the ceiling, but I have a special place for all things ginkgo.

 

David Wiseman ceiling

Flower Ceiling Installation

David Wiseman gingko

Ginkgo Ceiling Installation

David Wiseman branch light

Tree Branch Light

David Wiseman owl table

Owl Coffee Table