An exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum offers an interesting look into how Bernini’s large statuary was made. Various statues and groupings, mostly in Rome, are the focus of this show. Bernini’s plans included sketches with amazing details. He, or an assistant, would make clay models, fired as terracotta, of the eventual larger pieces. The show presents some of these drawings and clay sketches. Both the sketches and these small clay pieces give us an intimate and fascinating view of the preparation and process that went into Bernini’s work. The exhibit can be seen until January 6th.
A short article in Corriere della Sera discusses Rome’s ability to continue to attract visitors. Tourism to the capital has gone up notwithstanding crises and scandals. The article credits this to Rome’s being an open-air museum together with its ability to adapt to contemporary times. It cites the season’s current exhibitions, from Vermeer and Klee to one on Roman emperors. At the same time, it reminds us of the “poor” Rome that appeared in classic Alberto Sordi or Dino Risi films and then goes on to give suggestions for areas and neighborhoods to explore where one can feel again this “real” ambience. Interesting ideas for a visit!
The movie “To Rome With Love” is worth it if you want to hear some Italian and see some beautifully photographed Roman scenes. It does have some amusing parts. And Penelope Cruz is wonderful. Otherwise, it all feels very rushed and all in all it’s not great Woody Allen.
Amara Lakhous’s Divorzio all’islamica a viale Marconi (Edizioni e/o, 2010), written in a deceptively light style, is a story that takes place among immigrants, mostly Muslim, in Rome. The plot unfolds from two points of view, that of Christian, a Sicilian who speaks perfect Tunisian Arabic, and Sofia, an Egyptian who has emigrated to Italy to join her husband. Christian is recruited by the secret services to infiltrate a group of apparent terrorists and his life and Sofia’s intersect. The details of the lives of immigrants in Rome are fascinating and Sofia’s character is especially interesting. The plot moves along well until – spoiler alert – the end, which is incredibly unsatisfying. Otherwise, it’s a good read and provides insight into a different slice of contemporary Italian life.