Monday, May 25, 2009

my imperial tour

I should have blogged this a few weeks ago, but I couldn't find the words, the tone, and the will. So I thought it wasn't time yet. I thought,
"maybe I moved through space easier than my soul did. If I give time to catch up and wait till it ferments, I might even do it better... After all it was a thick, dense, deep experience."
I was wrong...
I should have written it before I forget the details, the tones of voices, the speed of dialects, the smells and the change. I shouldn't try to sort it out, because to sort it out means to lose much of the data, reduce it to bits comprehensible to our rational mind, as if we are only made up of it. such a waste...
So no more wasting time and data. I should find a way to start... maybe with a headline...
A four week holiday in Rome, Greece, Turkey -my imperial tour ;)
STEP 1: Amsterdam - Eindhoven -Rome
the Eindhoven airport is small and cosy. Landing in Rome, I finally feel the holiday start tickling my belly. Old things, unkempt. I like that. Finally some sunshine. some warmth. I turn to my impressionistic mode, rely on the senses, this is not nihilism.
Just the awakening of all five, after a dark and long winter...
Rome... She's different than anything I saw. She has an energy of its own, unexplainable, maybe even not comprehensible. After travelling to many cities in Europe, I realise I have lost this sensation of amusement with a new place. Rome brought it back in me. It's nor comparable. A thing of its own... Finally... I'm in Rome.

It's Easter, so the notorious Roman traffic is absent.
It's Easter, so we end up having an exceptionally secular experience of the City.
It's Easter, so the Romans are away, the Vatican is closed, and we are left to our own device to understand the whole of it: Try to complete the puzzle without entering the Vatican city...
The Roman ruins tell us why the Catholic Church needed to be so pompous... How else can you undo a myth, challenge such limitless splendour? And finally, how else will you undo the influence of Reformation and Renaissance? Baroque, for the first time made sense to me. (Even rococo did)
The church I had this revelation is called the pearl of baroque...
The visit to Colosseum shows what would have happened if anything is not protected by the Church...
The Forum whispers, how the Romans disliked monotheism:
One of the Triumphal Arches depicts the looting of Jerusalem by Titus' army.
Why not a castle but Arches? I ask... Doesn't a city as glorious as Rome need protection? We decide that the threat must be miniscule, and far faaar away... Then city walls would remain, but doors would only block trade and why not? let's replace them with arches that sanctify our glory...
The first church we enter I approach a painting that reminds me of Caravaggio. o-o it is indeed a Caravaggio.
Fits in nicely with Bernini. Which brings me to Bernini... Wow... hmpf... wow... can you do that with marble?
I won't even try to list the amazing art pieces one comes across... But three exhibitions out of the ordinary Rome travel were:

Futurism Avant-garde Avant-gardes (the least impressive curation I've seen in years; Futurism itself is interesting to think about...
See the Futurist Manifesto by F. T. Marinetti, from 1909... All that fascination with the urban, with speed, with dynamism and your optimism is smashed into the first world war. It must be a frustration that changed European art forever -maybe similar to the way the second world war changed European philosophy...)

Darwin (it was ok, not much new; the building it was held in was amazing: I particularly appreciated the thousand steps I had to take after a long day of sightseeing...)

and the glorious, tiny de Chirico exhibition called The magic of line. 110 drawings by De Chirico.

The rest of the highlights, I have them with me, as stories, to tell you next time we meet ;)

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