UGH. Okay, today had some serious problems. First of all, I slept really poorly and had really strange and creepy dreams (think tarantulas and Redmond Town Center, but in Italy. Yeah.) Next, we got to Chiesa Nuova and the Borromini facade of the Oratory that I was so unbelievably excited to see? Under construction. Completely covered in scaffolding, further wrapped in plastic – just to make sure you that I couldn’t see it! Serious disappointment here. We get inside and – lo and behold – the Caravaggio Entombment altarpiece is missing. MISSING. Okay, so it’s only a copy because the Vatican Museum has a death grip on the original -but still!
On the up side, we did get to see the amazing Visitation altarpiece by Federico Barocci, and the totally awesome Rubens altarpiece (for the high altar) which is painted on slate and contains a painted copper panel which slides away by some nifty mechanism to reveal a 13th century icon – but only on feast days. Barocci, as I have said in the past, is my favorite painter. I love Raphael, don’t get me wrong, but Barocci is where it’s at. One of my favorite things about Barocci’s paintings are the unbelievable details and layers of meaning embedded within each piece. Honestly, I could come back to this altarpiece day after day and – if my Christian theology/imagery were up to par for a Renaissance/Baroque art historian – still find something new each time. My favorite piece thus far, however, is his Madonna del Popolo, seen here:
In any case, after our class ended, Maria, Gina and I caught a bus to Termini to buy our train ticket to Chieti for tomorrow! I’m terribly excited to spend the weekend with these girls, away from Rome – and on the Adriatic Sea, no less! We’re staying at a cute B&B run by a man and his wife who both, evidently, used to live in Philadelphia and can’t wait to practice their English with us – oh, and he thinks my name is Sophia… you win some, you lose some. Speaking of, not sure about the wifi access this weekend so I may not be back until Sunday night – ciao!
Detail of Barocci’s Visitation