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Friday, March 29, 2013

Art as Subject

Outdoors in the Museum

Ancient urn in the atrium/forecourt of S. Cecilia
Plein air, or open air, painting inevitably conjures up images of landscapes and artists perched in splendid isolation. But one of the most compelling aspects of the Italian landscape is the evidence of human artifice, with or without a juxtaposition with Nature. So much of Italy, both in and out of town, is a museo all’aperto, and I am mostly drawn to subjects that include the marvelous works of the human hand that the country abounds in, seen in brilliant, changing outdoor light. Rome in particular offers this, indeed there is nowhere one can go in Rome, even something as ostensibly rural as the Parco della Caffarella near the via Appia Antica is full of fragments of the manmade.

So, offered here are two ancient remains, prominently and picturesquely sited in the Eternal City. Just watching the light change on the Trophies of Marius as the afternoon sun descends is a lesson in plein air painting.

The Trophies of Marius, on the parapet of the Campidoglio

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