Tuesday, 3 May 2011
What Rome feels like..
Rome does seem to exert some kind of centrifugal force. For the first two weeks I was completely disorientated - not just with the geography of the city but also with a consciousness of history and time which is completely overwhelming. This probably sounds a bit odd but I did feel like I was spinning - the only way to describe it is that you feel like you are on some kind of endless curve like this Max Bill sculpture - sometimes you are on the top and sometimes underneath but you are still attached and can't fall off even though you feel as if you are about to. Here is an example of this..
I mentioned Stendhal Syndrome earlier when I first began this blog (where one is rendered unconscious by beauty) well a few of us did experience a very mild dose of this on Saturday when we were allowed access to the private rooms of the Palazzo Spada.
This is part of the courtyard - the relief work gives you some idea of a very wonderful stucco corridor that we saw inside.
On entering we were shown into a corridor with a catoptric sundial - very similar to the one we saw at the Trinita Dei Monti Convent a couple of weeks ago and then we were shown into the incredible corridor that I mentioned earlier with stucco relief work that is indescribable! The one thing I can say about it is that Cocteau must have seen this corridor - I'm thinking of the corridor with human arms sticking out in his film 'la Belle et le Bete'!
We also were shown the best vantage point to view the amazing trompe l'oeil Boromini corridor, which we could photograph..
The subtlety of the trompe l'oeil of the final room was also incredible and we were allowed to take a few pictures of this - it was quite dark so my pictures are a bit soft. This room was deceptive as there was some strange stuff going on with the perspective. It was like a giant puzzle which we all tried to solve, to do with the people and animals depicted in the fresco - who was looking at whom and where did we, the viewers fit in - as we were definitely intended to be part of it.
It was incredibly clever and totally tiring!
By the time the tour ended we were each speechless and utterly exhausted. I have never experienced anything quite like this before - it was a total saturation of beauty and literally mind-blowing. I was so disorientated by the experience that I got lost going home, literally walking around in circles, I kept ending up at the same spot which was miles away from where I wanted to be. When I did eventually get back I had to lie down..