Monday, March 31, 2014

Discovering the Power of Art in Rome

          Today I realized that we only had one more day to spend in Rome. Time really flies when you're having a fantastic time learning and exploring. To think about leaving such a beautiful place filled with such a humble culture, great food, and history makes me so sad. It's hard to admit, but I'm truly heartbroken that we have to go. Ten days wasn't near enough time to fully experience all aspects of the Roman humanities. There are definitely some places that I need to revisit in the future, as well as some places I plan on showing my parents so they can experience what I have felt these past several days. It is an amazing feeling to actually connect with something on a higher level of thinking, especially when it's unexpected. The many different docents I have had have all opened my eyes to new topics in history, and all have encouraged these connections I'm having, especially with art.  Here are descriptions of my top three “aha” moments with Roman art and architecture.
1.  Borromini and Bernini rivalry and effective style of baroque art in complementing the counter reformation. I found it very interesting that these two brilliant minds didn't get along with each other, but it's understandable because they were complete opposites. One was always trying to outdo the other which made them both produce to their full potential. They both basically created stepping stones to a new style of art and architecture that they perfected very well. Bernini's sculptures were breath taking, the movements and the aura they gave off made them seem like they were alive. Borromini's fantastic architectural style really demonstrate his hard work and dedication towards how serious he was about his art. Their influences on church architecture were amazing, both making you feel warm and close to God.
2. Caravaggio's paintings really made me feel some type of way. He related to poor people and changed a lot of ways we look at art. He showed true emotions portrayed through suffering, not only other people but his own. He showed emotions through painting realistic characteristics of actual people which was breaking the rules at this time. His renegade approach to living life was very vivid and spoke to me.
photos courtesy wikimedia commons

3.  Seeing Michelangelo’s Last Judgement was emotional – more so than I had expected. Because we had learned about Michelangelo’s situation when he painted this (doubting his destiny after death and possibly battling the faith that he’d heavily believed in his entire life), the painting was brought to life for us in a new and unexpected way. This painting was a broad summarization of his understanding of life – which turned out to be a beautiful work of art. It made me sad to an extent, but also brought joy to my soul in an odd way – because even though the story was sad, I felt joyful because I understood his clear message.

photos courtesy wikimedia commons

            Before we left for Italy, all I could think about was food and how delicious everything was going to be, which it was, don't get me wrong. But when I stood and looked at a painting or a sculpture and analyzed them with insightful docents from Context Travel, it was like I could feel the emotions and all the characteristics of the artist. In that moment, I could picture what the artist was trying to share and connect them to my emotions and personal experiences. It's a beautiful process through my eyes, and I am so excited to make connections between the art history skills that I have developed and all of the art at home and abroad that I have yet to experience.  
- Malik lee


Anonymous said...

Wonderful "Aha" moments, Malik! I had the same feeling during the Caravaggio walk, that was really something! I can't wait to read more about his life, and it definitely changed the way I view that neighborhood of Rome. Thank you for sharing!

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