The company we keep

April 19, 2009

The brothers and friends on this trip are a very large part of what made this trip so special. My two brothers, Pat and Frank, I knew I would get along with…..had for years. Karl has been a dear friend for many years, and we have spent many an hour in both pleasure and business. Steve, I know through Frank, and has been a most amusing and humorous addition to our group, and I am so very glad to have had the opportunity to get to know him better. Phil has been a friend for years, but I had never sent this much concentrated time with him. He was a steady source of warm humor, and a great companion.

This picture was taken in a former prison turned ‘wine bar’ outside the Vatican. Thinking that we could only get wine at such places was erroneous. Food, marvelous food, could be had as well. img_8162

This is the Cafe at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, the museum of modern art. This was a late afternoon snack and caffe macchiatto. We took every available opportunity to sample the various coffees, and cakes, cookies, and sandwiches, cheeses….img_8108

Here is Pat, hamming it up for the camera. This is on the rooftop terrace of our hotel, a great place to get together and recount the events of the day.img_7848

While most of our time was spent in serious persuit of the arts, there were several spontaneous moments of levity. This is in the garden of the Villa Giulia, the Etruscan Museum. Left to right, Karl, Tom, and Steve. Steve is not too sure of the old adage, but is giving it his best shot.img_81031

Karl, happy as a clam, on the upper deck of the tour bus, circling the city of Rome. Frank wisely planned this tour in the beginning, just when we got off the plane, so we could orient ourselves with the city from the roof of a bus. We purchased a ‘Roma Pass‘, which paid our fare on the bus, the subway, and often got us into museums for no extra charge, or at a greatly reduced rate.

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After a long day in the ancient city, Phil relaxes with a cigar on the roof top of the hotel.

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Steve, dead tired from a long day of walking the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Catacombs, is suffering form sore feet, and still manages smile. We all pushed ourselves to the limit every day, to see as much as we could.

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Steve, Karl and Tom rest in the shade above the Forum while we wait for Phil to show up. We seemed to always be waiting for Phil to appear, and always took advantage of the time to take a load off the feet.

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When asked what I liked most about the trip, right at the top is “the company”. Had we spent years picking out and screening applicants, we could not have come up with a better group. I came away from this trip, not only getting to know Rome, but knowing my brothers and friends so much better.

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Fountains of Rome

April 15, 2009

Of all the things in Rome, I’d have to say that the fountains were the most impressive sights I ever saw. Paintings and frescoes were great, but the stone sculpture I never tired of. These sculptures could almost breathe, they were so beautiful and dreamlike. Such fanciful subjects, such as Neptune and his attendant monsters and fish creatures. These images are from the Piazza Navona, which has three fountains, set in a long narrow piazza.

Neptune, spearing an octopus.

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My all time favorite sculpture. The little tail on the mermaid’s bottom just sends me. What imagination these artists had. I came away from Rome completely inspired, and do not doubt why I make art.

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The center fountain at Navona, designed by Bernini. Total fantasy. Topped with an Egyptian obelisk, one of many in Rome.

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Trevi Fountain is the most glorious of all the fountains in Rome. I couldn’t absorb the grandness of the sculpture, the size, and the detail, the concept, oh, just over the top incredible. While this fountain was mind blowing, I preferred the smaller, more intimate fountains of Paizza Navona, especially in the early morning before the vendors and tourists cover the pavement. This fountain, too, was designed by Bernini. He was, in my opinion, a most incredible genius.

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One thing that struck me, long after I’d left Rome, was that this richness in art most likely will never happen again, with this kind of intensity. What did it take to make this? Money and power, certainly, one cannot but feel that dark side of the soaring beauty. But how many hours did this take, how many lives were spent, how much joy of creation was discovered?

Why do we strive to make art? Because it makes us feel good. Because we can’t help it? The more we make the better we feel. I know it sounds trite, but this is what works for me.