|Arco di Druso, via S. Sebastiano, morning|
Finding Historic Plein Air Landscapes in the Eternal City
As I said here a while back, Rome has changed a lot since it became the capital of a unified Italy in 1871. Which makes painting en plein air a challenge if you’re looking for the landscape of Corot. This summer I find myself lodging just outside the Porta Latina in a twentieth-century neighborhood that, urbanistically speaking, would win a CNU award if it were built today.
|S. Giovanni in Oleo, via Latina, morning|
|Circus of Maxentius along the Appia Antica|
Now, that’s not exactly an endorsement from my point of view: while the neighborhood has all the requisite services that the centro storico has mostly lost, it can’t hold a candle architecturally to the inhabited Rome of the Nolli map. But, it has two great advantages: one, the roads leading in from the Porta Latina and Porta S. Sebastiano are some of the most beautiful, because mostly untouched, stretches of Roma disabitata that exist; and the road leading out of Porta S. Sebastiano becomes the via Appia Antica, in its less trafficked stretches a miracle of picturesque ruins and countryside.
Balancing research in libraries with drawing in the field, I’ve started by disciplining my observation. First I intend to work on Magnani’s Annigoni™ medium toned paper, drawing in graphite then modeled in white and black gouache; for my first drawing, the tomb of Cecilia Metella on the Appia, I couldn’t resist capturing the blue Roman sky. But for the second, of the Arco di Druso (so-called; a focus of my research), I stuck with black and white on the warm grey paper; that’s the discipline I intend to sustain before I tackle color in oil.
As I produce more I’ll post them and describe some of my thematic agenda for the summer.
|Arco di Druso|