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Posts tagged “#NEURome12

Freeze Frame: Art History on site

Throughout our journey here in Rome, we’ve seen some of the most valuable pieces of art in the world, and because we had an amazing guide, we were able to not only view them, but to appreciate their stories and structures as well. It’s interesting that many question the financial background of the Catholic Church when, as our guide stated, the most invaluable piece owned by the Church could be sold for millions of dollars. This post will mainly focus on the artists that influenced some of Rome’s greatest pieces, all of which had a religious undertaking.

One area of Rome that our group thought was particularly amazing was the Piazza Navona, which features sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. We found Bernini’s work mind-blowing due to his ability to capture a narrative moment in marble. He had four major pieces in the Borghese Gallery; our favorite was Apollo e Dafne, which depicts the god Apollo chasing his love, the wood nymph Daphne, and her subsequent metamorphosis into a tree. Bernini flawlessly captures the love that Apollo feels for Daphne through his gentle touch around Daphne’s waist, while also perfectly portraying Daphne’s anguish through her expression—a distinctly Baroque style of showing emotion. As we stated, Bernini is known for capturing moments at their physical and emotional heights, and Daphne’s transformation is no exception, with leaves sprouting from her fingers, roots growing from her toes and roughly polished marble bark wrapping around her body.

When we made our way through the Borghese Gallery, one artist stuck out to us among the rest: Caravaggio. Learning about how different Caravaggio was compared to the other artists of his time sparked our interest. Caravaggio had a different feel, a darker, more realistic approach to his paintings that all of us had a great appreciation for.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael, is responsible for many works of art, most notably School of Athens, which now hangs in the Vatican Museums. School of Athens shows different philosophers expressing their philosophies, including Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates and even Raphael himself. We also found it interesting that Michelangelo is painted into the scene.

Speaking of Michelangelo, he created the Sistine Chapel! Nearly everyone knows about the Sistine Chapel, and, upon discovering that our itinerary included a visit to the Chapel, we were so excited to be able to say that we had seen it in the flesh. Like many galleries, no pictures were allowed in the Chapel (although we spotted many tourists taking pictures anyway). Michelangelo was simply a genius and it was great to see a work that is widely considered the epitome of his career.

Our time in Rome has been filled with tons of memories and life lessons. We’ve learned so much about the art history behind Rome, as well as other aspects of the city’s rich history. This has been a trip of a lifetime, and the galleries and artists mentioned above have helped to make our time educational and worthwhile.

Lauren Sears, NEURome12
Research Assistant
Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab Northeastern University

Want to know what else these NEU students are doing? Take a peek on Twitter: #neurome12



Freeze Frame: The Spanish Steps

The first post in the Freeze Frame series where Rome is captured through the lens of our students.
The Spanish Steps are truly a sight to see when visiting Rome.  Italians, as well as visitors of all nationalities, can be found lounging there, but not eating as this is (not so strictly) prohibited. The steps look down on the Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Square), home to the Fontana della Barcaccia, an excellent place for people watching.  On a Saturday afternoon crowds gather to watch the street performers and meander along Via Condotti, the adjacent street lined with designer shops and the famous Babington’s Tea Room. It has become an iconic destination and a necessity for any visit to Rome.

Visitors seem completely unaware of the Steps’ rich history and their original purpose. The steps were constructed in the 1720s to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Trinita dei Monti church. The steps were built with the intent of creating a link between the church and Rome, but has since become a tourist attraction instead of a religious destination. As stated earlier the area around the steps, which was originally built to showcase the church, has now been transformed into a major metropolitan area of Rome.Much like the rest of the Europe, the Steps have adapted to the contemporary times.

As one walks through Rome, you stumble upon iconic sites from ancient civilizations. Several of these sites have been repurposed for modern use.  In some cases, you can go see what is left of the glorious Roman Empire. But in the case of the Scalinata, you can go to see the Rome of today. Though the Spanish Steps are not ancient, they have molded themselves into Italy’s rich cultural history.
~by Stepanie Stoops, Northeastern University, NEURome12
Can’t get enough? Follow our students through Rome via Twitter hashtag #NEURome12 and the occasional #NEURome2012.