Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bernini vs Borromini

Day 3 Update: I did go back the next day and sketch the piazzas. First I hit the Trevi Fountain, I switching from figure to figure as tourists blocked my view.  They were all taking selfies and throwing the requisite coin in the fountain. The story goes that if you toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain you're sure to return to Rome.  I tossed mine in the night before.  Just a little insurance to make sure I get back here with Greg for the romantic version of Rome 

From there I went to piazza Navona, where the incredible Bernini fountain of the four rivers takes center stage. It faces a building designed by Bernini's former student, Borromini. The legend is that the figures on the Borromini side of the fountain are shielding their eyes as a slight to his work.  They were rivals, and it's a fun story, like spray painting 'Borromini sucks!' on the side of a building in a way that would last centuries, but (spoiler alert) it's not true.  My Rick Steves' Pocket Rome points out that Bernini's fountain was actually finished before Borromini's building was begun.  Thanks Rick Steves, buzz killer. 

I sketched the two eye-shielding figures, then my friend Jim came and picked me up, extra helmet under his arm, for a scooter tour of Rome. It really is the perfect way to see this city.  Afterwards we scooted back for dinner with his wife and son at their home in E.U.R., which is this trippy moderne suburb filled with fantastic fascist architecture from Mussolini's day.  It's an amazing, pallet cleansing shift from the cacophony of architectural detail and two thousand years of colliding eras that is central Rome. Their home is adorable, as are they. It's great to see old friends so happy.

The sketches are rough, but I'll post them soon. 

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