Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rome Day 3 - Palazzo Pamphilj

Palazzo Pamphilj

Right in the centre of Rome this palace is an ugly selection of dark rooms crammed with paintings, furniture and sculpture. Worse still, the owner ahs decided to explain it all in an audio guide that sounds like Bertie Wooster on acid. The first room has wall to wall paintings, literally commissioned by the square yard to fit the walls. It’s a hideous room, used, as the master of the house says, by bankers – what a surprise. It’s a symbol of complete, tasteless greed.

The one saving grace is Velasquez's Pope Innocent X painting, set in a small room on its own. He sits in his blood-red cloak against blood-red walls and a blood-red hat, the white lower garment just exaggerating the contrast. It is simply one of the greatest portraits ever painted.

Among the hundreds and hundreds of badly hung paintings are several gems, including a Titian, two Carvaggios and several Claude Lorraine's.

Trajan's Forum

This whole complex is now open to the public and contains fragments of marble that show how monumentally impressive the original structure would have been with its libraries, basilica and market. The market, on three levels is not dissimilar to a modern shopping mall with dozens of shops.

Tempieta

Up the hill behind Tavestere to the progenitor for St Pauls, Capitol Hill and thousands of other domed structures around the world. This was Bramante’s invention, a dome raised up on a column, surrounded by columns on a 3:4 ration (diameter to height). It’s a small and delicate structure.

Continuing on the aesthetics theme, art, in particular, poses a problem for evolutionary theory as it doesn’t seem to have a explicable survival function as it seems, on appearance, to be a costly, time consuming activity that should have been selected out. Art, for Miller, is part of the ‘extended phenotype’ with its origins in ochre pigments, cave paintings and figurines. Art provides possible sensory biases and/or fitness indicators.

3 Comments:

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Milka said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alisha

http://sketchingdrawing.com

 
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