Quite possibly the best thing about living in Rome is access to an incredible diversity of Art. There are more museums in Rome than I could possibly visit in one lifetime, let alone a brief three year stay. That hasn’t stopped me from trying though.
This week I paid a visit to the Galleria Doria Pamphilj on Via Del Corso. I have walked past this rather non descript building several times, each time thinking I should probably stop in there one day. The Palazzo is richly decorated with intricately detailed decorative ceilings and floor to ceiling paintings in many rooms. While I found many of the paintings themselves to be very heavy and dark, it was a fantastic glimpse into the life of a very privileged Italian family.
Perhaps because of this particular theme, I noticed a three paintings in particular that played with the idea of shadow and light. The artists were able to create detailed scenes relying on the subjects’ positions within the shadow, created by a tiny illumination in the dark. I was simply fascinated by the fact that they were able to capture so much, with so little light.
Art is more than just the literal shadow. Michelangelo is quoted as saying: “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” That may be so, but what a shadow it is! Here are some pieces that I’ve seen lately.
The beauty of these works of art leaves me to wonder if perhaps the beauty of the shadow is preferable to the harsh light of reality.
“But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what could the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You’re stupid.”
― Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
Saint Teresa in Ecstasy can be found in the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria on via XX Settembre. This was another place I had unknowingly passed many times before stopping in.
Nathan Sawaya’s work in Lego’s is currently on display in the Parco della Musica.
The Knight and the painting Meditation are part of the Scuderie del Quirinale’s show il Museo Universale – Dal Sogno di Napoleane a Canova.
The Klimt and Monet are on display at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. The current show is Time is out of Joint.
But for all the beauty of Art and shadow, it would be nothing without the light of the real world to inspire it. For what is one without the other?
“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Find more Shadows at the Daily Post