Just a ceiling

Galeria Borghese, Rome, the marvelous interiors.

The view you may admire if you look up entering the great hall of the Villa Borghese Pinciana in Rome.  I will not speculate on its size, but the fresco is for sure more than 100 meter big. 


Frescoes was a very popular technique used to decorate ceilings and walls in Rome, in ancient times as well as during the Renaissance. It was adopted in many other places  and countries usually in churches, palaces and villas belonging to the rich. The technique was also applied in China and India. The true fresco technique involves painting with a water colour on the wet plaster. If the painter did not manage to put colour onto the plaster before it dried up, the plaster had to be removed and put on once again. Frescoes were also painted with a technique called fresco secco, where the painting was applied on a dry plaster. (Secco stands in Italian for dry, fresco – for fresh). The major difference between a true fresco and the fresco secco is its durability. In case of a true fresco during the drying process the colour becomes part of the plastered wall and this way the fresco painting may preserve longer. True frescoes are not suitable as a painting technique for countries where the climate is wet and cold.

Winter is coming

It is getting colder and colder. The winter is coming on Earth. The Goddess Demeter is once again losing her daughter Persephone to Hades. It is however not Westeros, but the ancient Greece.

This post was supposed to be about Bernini, the famous Italian sculptor mentioned lately in Angels and Demons movie where a symbologist was following the path of illumination marked by Bernini sculptures to rescue kidnapped cardinals. While looking through photos I made last year in Rome I found a Bernini sculpture, a very famous one, that made me think of winter that is coming. The sculpture is known as the “Rape of Persephone” and can be admired in Galleria Borghese in Rome (>>>). The association with winter may seem far fetched but it isn’t.

JMA_Bernini_06

In ancient Greek mythology Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and his sister Demeter the Goddess of fertility. One day Hades, brother to both Zeus and Demeter and God to the Underworld kidnapped Persephone and took her to his realm. According to some writers she was already in love with her uncle so the act was not that dramatic as it was reflected by Bernini.

But her mother Demeter almost lost her mind looking for her. As the Goddess of fertility she was no longer taking care of the Earth. The harsh times came on people. To help people Zeus, the king of Gods, ordered Hades to release Persephone to her mother for some time each year.

Each time Persephone is coming back to her husband to the Underworld leaving her mother, the autumn and winter are embracing the Earth. After half a year she comes back to her mother onto Earth. With gratitude Demeter is then taking care of people bringing them spring.

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Villa Borghese Pinciana. A breathtaking art gallery and a masterpiece in itself

In Rome there is a park called Villa Borghese. The name derives from the Villa Borghese Pinciana, a palace located in the park. (Or other way round, the the park was originally set up around the villa).

The palace does not look very impressive from outside. But inside it contains a breathtaking art gallery called Galleria Borghese. It is not only the masterpieces of art like sculptures, paintings and even the furniture that make this Villa. The villa is a masterpiece in itself. When you enter you do not know at what to look at – the floors, the ceilings, the walls or sculptures, paintings or furniture. Basically you have this problem at many spots in Rome, but this place is summing it all up.

Another important thing about this place is that you have to reserve the ticket (a week or two before you plan to visit it) and you are allowed to enter only for the time span of two hours. The number of visitors at one time is limited. If you are inside, practically you can move around freely. You can focus at that what you want. In Rome it is not that usual. So among places where you have to queue to enter and then move among crowds those two hours are a time to relax and just contemplate the art.

But enough talk. Below a selection of photos I made at this place. At many photos you will see beautiful skirts. As we visited this place, it hosted an exhibition of haute couture skirts designed by Azzedine Alaia (>>>). Enjoy!



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