9.10.2008

Day Twenty-Four

The vice president is still following us around Rome. He just won't take a hint...I did manage to get a picture of his limo as the motorcade passed though....
Today we had two more student presentations. Nicole gave a fantastic account of Mussolini and his impact on Italy. She included some very interesting facts about Mussolini's masterful use of propaganda, particularly film. I was also intrigued by the architectural style Mussolini preferred, exemplified in what is described as the square colosseum. This building style is very cold, dramatic and imposing. 

Then Emily led us to two Jesuit churches, Il Gesu and Sant' Ignazio. The most remarkable thing about these churches to me are the fantastic frescos inside. They are painted using what is called a quadratura technique which was very popular during the Baroque period. (I've always wanted to work the word Baroque into a blog post, it makes me sound like a fancy pants) This technique makes strong use of painted architectural elements to give the sense of perspective and really leads to a three dimensional illusion. This scene is one of judgment day, with some souls ascending to heaven and, not shown here, some descending to hell. Look at how the painting spills off of the ceiling onto the surrounding architectural features. Also, notice the masterful use of foreshortening to create the illusion of depth. Wowie! 
Our final stop was at a very old library where our friendly guide allowed us to see some rare illuminated manuscripts and books. There were also two fantastic huge globes on display. It was neat to see what parts of the world were still undiscovered at the time these were made. The name of this library is Biblioteca Casanatense. It is actually a public library and if you are ever in Rome, I highly recommend checking it out. They will allow you to study some very old, rare items that you probably would never be able to actually hold anywhere else. We even got to look at some of the first edition etchings done by Giovanni Battista Piranesi....


2 comments:

Mum said...

I'm sure you will agree with me here. When I first saw that fresco, it made me think of the 3D Muppets show we saw at Disney World. Now confess. That's what you thought of, too, right?

Seaton McLennan said...

Barb, and now we know where Disney got all his ideas for those wonderful 3D movies back in the 50's!