Rome. Oh what to say about Rome. This city completely caught me by surprise and overwhelmed my artistic sensibilities in every direction I looked. I could hardly turn my head without seeing another amazing work of greatness staring me in the face. Here are the main thoughts and feelings that struck me about Rome. First, the size. Every building, every statue, every painting is huge. And not just large, but it seems to envelope and completely dominate the space you're in. How could I not feel the greatness of this ancient civilization just by the mere size of everything they did? I felt small in a way that makes one contemplate their own significance on a universal scale. (Really). Even as I stood there snapping pictures, I knew the sheer size and vastness of space would be lost in photographs. Second only to the scale was the beauty and the absolute perfection to which everything was completed. Yes we saw a lot of famous structures like the Colosseum, The Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica and the Pantheon but even the ones that weren't particularly famous were amazing. Precise. Flawless. The statues, the reliefs, the columns, the boarders, were so detailed and perfect I couldn't comprehend how it was ever accomplished. I wondered aloud more than once, where were their terrible art school projects that weren't exactly precise and all perfect looking? Surely someone must have screwed up an important relief detail somewhere. All I know is that we couldn't replicate it today. What we've gained in technology we've lost in craft and skill. Anyway, I'm skipping a lot of dialogue and labels here and instead just present you with a post full of pictures. Viva Roma!
I will stop here to say that one of my very favorite things on the whole trip was seeing the Sistine Chapel. You're not allowed to take photos inside, and you are asked not to speak. The fact that many people disobeyed both those requests irked a little, but not enough to take away my enjoyment of those masterpieces. As you're often told in art class when viewing slide after slide of famous artwork, It's better in person, it's better in person. I have found this to be true on occasion and also false on occasion. In this case, it was true, true, true. And I'm actually glad we couldn't take photos. The greatness of being there was being there. It's remembering that I was blown away to see this perfection in person because you realize part of the great feat was the perspective--painting it at close range while knowing it was to be viewed far away on the floor. Seeing such amazing detail and vibrant 500-year-old-colors, not in a photo but in person. It was inspiring and nothing short of a miracle. And no photo would have done it justice. Not to mention, being consumed with getting a great shot can often take away from the experience of just being there. I was so glad I could just be there.
St. Peter's Basilica
Oh Rome...til we meet again.