The Palazzo Altemps
This palace houses a significant percentage of the classical statuary in Rome, so naturally, Joanna and I decided to go there and have fun before we go there to "learn" with our Ancient City class. One of the parts that suprised me the most was that the museum staff will let you get mere inches away from the statues, allowing us to enjoy ourselves to the fullest. We will later learn that not all museum personel are so nice. It is a story better told through pictures, so I'm going to let them do the talking.
One of about 100,000 copies of the Praxiteles Aphrodite from the ancient world. These are a dime a dozen in any museum with a decent collection of classical art, but this one was quite nice.
An awesome statue of Dionysus from the 1st century AD.
From the Ludovisi (as in the collection) throne - it's famous, at least famous enough to be in Joanna's Greek Archaeology textbook.
One of the statues from the monument that originally included the famous "Dying Gaul" (shown below)
He's in the Capitoline museum on the Campidoglio.
Writing in my awesome new journal, no doubt inspired by the statue of Calliope looming behind me.
When we load up the bus for field trips, we do the "Emperor Roll Call," which has everyone matched up with an emperor from Augustus (Jason Baur) through Gallienus (Jordana Wolf). Joanna happened to get Commodus (whom you may recall as Joaquin Phoenix's character in the movie Gladiator) while I'm Valerian, who managed to get himself captured by the Persians and spent the rest of his life as a footstool for the shah. Needless to say, they didn't make very many busts of him.
Tiberius didn't lead a very happy life, so it's understandable that he's a little grouchy. You'd be sad too if Augustus made you divorce your first wife to marry his wild-child daughter whom he subsequently banished to a very tiny island.
Geta was not long for this earth
That Tuesday, it was off to Cosa, which set the new standard for field trip awesomeness (for the record, the scale runs from Obelisk Walk to Cosa). Though the sites we saw were nothing extraordinary, it was a gorgeous day in northern Italy, on a mountain by the sea. It didn't hurt that the Roman colony that we saw there still had a few buildings standing either.
Believe it or not, one of the few fully standing buildings we've seen on our official class trips. This was a temple to Jupiter in one of his forms or another...I'm pretty sure that he kept changing his epithets to try to outfox the hordes of jilted lovers out for revenge.
As promised, on a mountain, by the sea.
My visit with St. Valentine
Our Thursday trip was dampened by rain and mostly underground anyway - we saw a couple of temples that are under the church of St. Nicholas Imprisoned. However, we did get a bit of a treat at the end when we went to the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, home of the Boca Della Verita (most famous for its role in the movie Roman Holiday) and, apparently, the relics of St. Valentine. Since it was, in fact, February 14th, they trotted out his bones and a bit of his cloak for all to behold:
It was weird, but in a "Cool, I'm seeing St. Valentine's decomposing skull!" sort of way.
Just for kicks, what's the best, least offensive way to keep warm on a cold, wet day?
Use the votive candles, of course!
The Castel Satnt'Angelo
was the site of our art history field trip that week because of a room that Paul III decorated in the mannerist style. For those unfamiliar with the mannerist school, some key phrases: complex, elongated, emotionless, and kind of boring. The building itself is amazing, though! Though it once served as the mausoleum of Hadrian, it was converted to a papal residence, and housed Clement VII during the sack of Rome in 1527 by Charles V. The building's current name comes from the reign of pope Gregory the Great - the legend goes that during a great plague, the Archangel Michael appeared at the roof of the building and sheathed his sword, ending the pestilence. Now, like most important buildings in Rome, it's a museum.
Those are all Bernini statues lining the Ponte Sant'Angelo - a closeup:
And finally, the view I'm going to enjoy when I finally get what I deserve and become pope:
After the Castel, we headed over to the Capitoline Museums, another one of the primary classical collections in Rome. Though we were there to see Michelangelo's courtyard and a few mannerist (ugh) rooms upstairs, we ended up playing with statues again. The courtyard used to house the statue of Marcus Aurelius (which survived the middle ages because they thought that it was Constantine), but now it's a copy because they've brought the original downstairs for restoration and protection. I could go into a lot of boring detal from the 100 pages of reading that we had on the Campidoglio, but I'll spare you and just post some pictures.
"It's only a model"
I lied - I don't have any more pictures of the Campidoglio, but here's one from google image search:
Marcus Aurelius should be on the pedistal in the center
In the musea:
Joanna plays with Commodus again - this is THE famous statue of him, looking absolutely insane dressed as Hercules.
Alcibiades, another crazy person, though he came from the Golden Age of Athens - hung out with Socrates, defaced some herms, etc.
The head of a colossal statue of Constantine. Needless to say, I'm impressed.
was less impressive than the trips from the week before - though it too was on a hill, it was a rainy day and we spent most of it inside a museum. However, that museum used to be one of the largest temples in the ancient world! Not much remains of the original structure, but it still manages to impress. The mountain on which it was set looks out between two mountain ranges, and between the two, you can just barely make out the sea in the distance:
The real fun came when our professors were late finding us after lunch and we got to use the playground:
Our one full day art history field trip was last Friday, when we visited the Palazzo Farnese in Caparola, about an hour and a half north of Rome. This is where I want to live. The cardinal Alessandro Farnese, nephew (really grandson) of Paul III, built this villa/palace at huge expense toward the end of his life and spared nothing. He even carved out a six mile stretch of road leading up to the building so that he would have a more impressive approach and built an aqueduct which not only gave his building water, but also supplied the entire town. As I said, when I make my first, oh, 20 million (I'm not a greedy man...), I am going to build myself an exact replica of this building. You don't even get a sense of how amazing this place is until you see the backup palace.
Yeah, it's ok. And it comes with its own Vespa!
The courtyard, second floor.
Gateway to the gardens.
The backup palace!
Not bad, you know, for a third residence.
A "chain of water," complete with weird mannerist fish.
The new gardens at another, lesser villa that we visted. I guess they're ok too.
That's all for now.
I'm fucking exhausted.