Category Archives: art

When in Rome, Part 3

John Keats died at Rome of a consumption, in his twenty-fourth year, on the [23rd] of [February] 1821; and was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the protestants in that city, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of ancient Rome. The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place. Continue reading

When in Rome, Part 2

Colosseum

Proceeding along the Via Sacra and passing under the arch of Titus, on turning a little to the left, we beheld the amphitheatre of Vespasian and Titus, now called the Coliseum. Never did human art present to the eye a fabric so well calculated by its size and form,
to surprise and delight.
—John Chetwode Eustace, A classical tour through Italy, p. 163

Our next two days in Rome provided for a study in contrasts: the first a series of missteps, the second a non-stop delight. Continue reading

When in Rome, Part 1

Pons Fabricius, the Tiber

si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre; si fueris alibī, vīvitō sīcut ibī*
attributed to St Ambrose

Rome doesn’t yield up its secrets easily to first-time short-term travelers, and the work attendant to their discovery can threaten to swamp the rewards. While our desire was to heed St. Ambrose’s dictum, we faced “just a few” significant challenges: we had between us about five words of Italian and next to nil in practical knowledge of the city and its ways. Continue reading

July Miscellany, with music by Jaeger, Mattingly & Trapani & performances by Dhegrae & Contemporaneous

That’s Robert Louis Stevenson contemplating the proceedings, courtesy John Singer Sargent. The proceedings include, among other things, El café by Joaquín Torres-García and the Cabinet of Geology and Mineralogy from the announcement of a project by Mark Dion at Vassar College. Continue reading

Grant Wood at the Whitney

Young Corn (1931, detail)

Not something I’d ever though to see: an exhibit devoted to Grant Wood at the Whitney Museum in New York. Eons ago, I’d seen his work on his home turf. The impression it left was indelible. I’ve often wished I could see the works on display in Cedar Rapids once again. Continue reading