Page 1

A former student of the École Normale Supérieure (the best French school for literary studies), Dominique Fernandez is a writer, academic, literary critic and a member of the French Academy (L’Académie française). His entire life and career have been influenced by Italy: he wrote a thesis about Pavese, a novel about Pasolini (Dans la main de l’ange – In the Angel’s Hand, for which he was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1982, the highest literary distinction in France), and very recently, a book about the Villa Medici. Dominique Fernandez is a pre-eminent scholar of Italian culture and language, and Rome has a special place in his heart.

Born in Blois, France, in 1962, Fabrice Moireau is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art in Paris. A great lover of architecture and Roman history, he strives in his watercolours, which are always painted in situ, to convey the subtle play of light and the atmosphere of a city or landscape. He has illustrated many publications in the Sketchbook series, including Paris Sketchbook, Rooftops of Paris, Gardens of Paris, Loire Valley Sketchbook, Provence Sketchbook, Venice Sketchbook and New York Sketchbook, also published by Editions Didier Millet.

In Rome there is no guide, only one’s curiosity about places, monuments and sculptures, as unveiled in this collection of watercolours by Fabrice Moireau. According to Dominique Fernandez, “one must leave it to chance and wander aimlessly”, because pleasure “is found where least expected”. With only their quill and brush, the author and illustrator capture the different faces of Rome – Ancient Rome, Imperial Rome, Rome of the Baroque, as well as modern Rome – and invite us to discover the masterpieces of this “eternal city”.

Other titles in this series

Amsterdam Sketchbook: Graham Byfield and Hinke Wiggers Bali Sketchbook: Graham Byfield and Diana Darling Mauritius Sketchbook: Sophie Ladame and Yvan Martial Gardens of Paris Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Jean-Pierre Le Dantec London Sketchbook: Graham Byfield and Marcus Binney New York Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Jerome Charyn Paris Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Mary A. Kelly Provence Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and John Burdett Thailand Sketchbook: Taveepong Limapornvanich and William Warren Rooftops of Paris: Fabrice Moireau and Carl Norac Loire Valley Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Jean-Paul Pigeat Venice Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Stéphane Denis

U.S. $30.00

View the whole series at www.edmbooks.com

Rome Sketch Book _Jkt

Text Black_Eng Ed

EDM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 OK

CN274076 GP11 21.02.11 175#

LCH/B/w M Y

C K

3

DALIM

CN

DVD: CN414

While every effort has been taken to carry out instruction to customers satisfaction NO RESPONSIBILITY liablilty will be accepted for errors CUSTOMERS ARE THEREFORE URGED TO CHECK THOROUGHLY BEFORE AUTHORISING PRINT RUNS


Rome is a palimpsest, a city made of layers of different

linear symbol of Christ’s early disciples. Fellini tells in his film

civilisations piled one on another and intermingled. Put

Roma (the best introduction to the city’s magic) how, when the

simply, one can count seven distinct civilisations, just as there

authorities tried to excavate the tunnels of the underground

are seven hills. Starting with ancient Rome, itself subdivided

railway, frescos hidden since ancient times suddenly appeared

into Republican Rome (the Capitol, the Mamertine Prison, the

from the depths.

Forum, the Giulia Basilica, the Temple of Castor and Pollux,

One could give endless examples of this interconnectedness

the House of the Vestals etc.) and Imperial Rome (the Palatine,

of the centuries, be it unintentional or actively sought, so much

the Pantheon, Hadrian’s Tomb), then on to Christian Rome

more convincing when it is unintentional than when it is willed.

(early and Romanesque churches), then Renaissance Rome

Thus, Mussolini, as is known, never let up in his efforts to

(St Peter’s, the paintings in the Vatican, the Villa Medici) and

restore its ancient “grandeur” to the city, constructing buildings

then to the Rome of the Baroque (the Piazza Navona, Bernini,

of questionable majesty and committing the crime of driving

Borromini) and on to Fascist Rome (EUR) and finally on to

the pompously named avenue, Via dell’Impero, from the Piazza

modern Rome (Fellini, Pasolini). These seven Romes can only

Venezia to the Colosseum between Trajan’s Forum and the

be seen as an ensemble after several visits, certainly not the first

Roman Forum, separating them, and thus disfiguring, thanks to

time, and even then much depends on one’s age, experience and

its sheer monumentality, one of Rome’s finest and most evocative

tastes. When I say “then” and “on to” it’s only for chronological

townscapes. Not everything is deplorable in Mussolini’s taste,

convenience as there’s no real time sequencing in Rome. Each

however, and although one will be frowned on for saying so, the

century is the contemporary of all the other centuries, before

stadium built for the 1932 Olympics is decorated with statues

and after, because, uniquely, the eras refuse to stay separate,

of naked athletes whose beauty would in no way disgrace a

classified and compartmentalised.

museum of antiquities.

Found in the Catacombs of San Sebastiano is the famous

The first time I went to Rome, as a classics student, I only had

graffiti of the fish and the IKTHUS acrostic (the Greek word for

eyes for ancient Rome, known to the world as Urbs. I strode

fish and the Greek initials for “Jesus Christ Son of God”), the

through the forums, identified temples, picked out basilicas,

secret sign of the first Christians – but also in the basilica of

climbed the Palatine hill, clambered up the terraces of the

the same name, built in the same catacombs, is an insolently

Colosseum, walked the Appian Way, whose cobblestones had

baroque statue, Antonio Giorgetti’s St Sebastian, a naked,

survived intact since the time of Cicero and I sat before the tomb

curly-haired young man, leaning back, whose swooning pose

of Cecilia Metella in a drunken orgy of classical culture that

evokes ideas that are quite different from those of the severe

blinded me to the city’s other epochs.


Alexander VII give an idea of the pomp Bernini loved to display and the means at his disposal. Such gigantism was, happily, but one route, albeit extreme, explored by Bernini’s genius. He knew, too, how to distance himself from ostentation and pomp. There is nothing more graceful than the angels sculpted for the Ponte Sant’Angelo or more sensual than the two saints carved in ecstasy, Santa Theresa and the happy Ludovica Albertoni, in Santa Maria della Vittoria and San Francesco a Ripa respectively. Seeing these mouths twisted by celestial visions, this ferment of rumpled cloth, this overflow of emotion, more pagan than Christian, this rampant eroticism, it must be said that Bernini did well to be the official papal artist. He remained enough of The case of Bernini is quite different. He too is omnipresent in Rome, but he was protected, financed and feted by popes.

an Italian to keep his freedom and the impudence of a style utterly at loggerheads with biblical precept.

In the 17 century he was instrumental in changing the look

The various fountains, already mentioned, of the rivers,

of the city. He led a long and glorious life, the opposite of the

the Triton and the bees have left their mark on Rome forever

violent and half-secret life of Caravaggio. And since his works

through their fantasy and their humour – take for example

are those of an architect, a decorator and a sculptor, they are

the elephant placed by Bernini as a pedestal to the obelisk in

more immediately visible than those of a painter and are a real

the Piazza della Minerva, a crazy but enchanting invention.

part of Rome’s townscape.

In the façade of the Palazzo Montecitorio, which serves today

th

Let us start with St Peter’s and the famous colonnade raised

as Italy’s Parliament, great blocks of unhewn stone have been

in front of the basilica and running around the square, an

inserted, which is yet another typically baroque innovation by

immense Doric portico divided into two semicircles of four

Bernini – this manner of integrating nature with architecture,

rows of columns, which form three galleries. He had to evoke

as if the latter were an extension of the former, a notion that

the universality of the Church and its desire to open its arms

would have horrified Michelangelo.

to the whole world. Inside the basilica is the no less renowned

The Bernini tour ends in the Borghese Gallery where his four

canopy, made with bronze taken from the Pantheon, St Peter’s

masterpieces of sculpture are exhibited. It is not for us to analyse

pulpit built at the end of the apse in a glory of clouds, sunbeams

them here but simply to underline how they sum up what makes

and angels. And finally the spectacular tombs of Urban VIII and

for the originality of Rome. In The Rape of Proserpine, Pluto’s


hand digging into the victim’s thigh shows the same greedy

wander aimlessly, without fear of missing out the conventional

sensuality to be seen in the faces of the youths that wander

sights. Pleasure is found where least expected: in a secret corner

the Pincio gardens or stroll the long avenue of the Corso. As

between two shady lanes; under an umbrella pine sprung from

for his David, it allows us to define clearly in which way the

between two paving stones, by railings behind which lies a hint

spirit of Rome differs from the spirit of Florence. In Florence,

of mystery, in the darkness of a chapel where a candle-end

of course, Michelangelo raised his monumental, haughty and

flickers, before a stele that evokes a far distant past.

timeless David, standing firm, ready to defy the powers of evil,

What is more poetic, for example than the Aventine Hill,

an allegory of strength and courage. Bernini’s David, shown

where few visitors venture, for there is no famous monument to

twisting his body in vigorous movement, an unsettled hero,

be found there? It is a silent, secluded neighbourhood of villas,

tense and anxious, is nothing like that. To Florence, pure and

monasteries and gardens. One feels very far from that other

confident of its rights, is opposed a doubtful self-questioning

hectic, clamorous Rome on these roads resembling country

Rome. This is what modifies our impression of a city subjected

lanes, bordered by walls abundantly overhung with olive trees,

to the authority of the Papacy and dominated by its power. It is

cypresses and pines. In Santa Sabina, a vast 5th-century basilica,

true that the popes put vine leaves on ancient statues, bronze

one can savour another well-ordered assortment since the tall

loincloths on the too-daring statues of Renaissance artists and

Corinthian columns come from a pagan temple.

there was even one who put underpants all over Michelangelo’s

Another unexpected pleasure to be found in Rome is the non-

Last Judgement – but it’s precisely this authoritarian mania to

Catholic cemetery where some Englishmen are buried, including

control that encouraged artists to rebel, to assess just how

Keats and Shelley, and Goethe’s son, some orthodox Greeks

far their creative freedom would stretch. Pluto’s hand on

and Russians and communists such as Antonio Gramsci. It’s

Proserpine’s flesh, the bare thigh and swaying pose of the

a delightful garden, itself a witness to the fabulous patchwork

angel with a scroll on the Ponte Sant’Angelo, the emotional

that is Rome. On the left stands the white marble tomb, in

turmoil of Ludovica Albertoni, the fevered amorousness of

the form of a pyramid, that Caius Cestius, a distinguished

Santa Theresa: these are all attacks against orthodoxy, all

citizen of Augustus’s Empire, had built for himself, at a time

good reasons to love Rome (Roma, anagram of Amor.)

when Egypt was the height of fashion; and on the right, an

The best advice is to read nothing about this city before

absolutely magical place, the Testaccio, a mound made from

gathering one’s own impressions. From Montaigne to Goethe,

piles of broken, ancient amphorae, a rendez-vous today for

Chateaubriand to Stendhal, Michelet to Zola, Taine to Henry

boys grazing horses and hoodlums that seem to have escaped

James – so many magnificent and interesting words, so many

from a Pasolini film: yet again, a crossroads where different

obstacles between Rome and the personal vision that each one

cultures meet, a space where the most distant past merges with

of us should have of the city. One must leave it to chance and

the most immediate present.


A former student of the École Normale Supérieure (the best French school for literary studies), Dominique Fernandez is a writer, academic, literary critic and a member of the French Academy (L’Académie française). His entire life and career have been influenced by Italy: he wrote a thesis about Pavese, a novel about Pasolini (Dans la main de l’ange – In the Angel’s Hand, for which he was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1982, the highest literary distinction in France), and very recently, a book about the Villa Medici. Dominique Fernandez is a pre-eminent scholar of Italian culture and language, and Rome has a special place in his heart.

Born in Blois, France, in 1962, Fabrice Moireau is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art in Paris. A great lover of architecture and Roman history, he strives in his watercolours, which are always painted in situ, to convey the subtle play of light and the atmosphere of a city or landscape. He has illustrated many publications in the Sketchbook series, including Paris Sketchbook, Rooftops of Paris, Gardens of Paris, Loire Valley Sketchbook, Provence Sketchbook, Venice Sketchbook and New York Sketchbook, also published by Editions Didier Millet.

In Rome there is no guide, only one’s curiosity about places, monuments and sculptures, as unveiled in this collection of watercolours by Fabrice Moireau. According to Dominique Fernandez, “one must leave it to chance and wander aimlessly”, because pleasure “is found where least expected”. With only their quill and brush, the author and illustrator capture the different faces of Rome – Ancient Rome, Imperial Rome, Rome of the Baroque, as well as modern Rome – and invite us to discover the masterpieces of this “eternal city”.

Other titles in this series

Amsterdam Sketchbook: Graham Byfield and Hinke Wiggers Bali Sketchbook: Graham Byfield and Diana Darling Mauritius Sketchbook: Sophie Ladame and Yvan Martial Gardens of Paris Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Jean-Pierre Le Dantec London Sketchbook: Graham Byfield and Marcus Binney New York Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Jerome Charyn Paris Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Mary A. Kelly Provence Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and John Burdett Thailand Sketchbook: Taveepong Limapornvanich and William Warren Rooftops of Paris: Fabrice Moireau and Carl Norac Loire Valley Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Jean-Paul Pigeat Venice Sketchbook: Fabrice Moireau and Stéphane Denis

U.S. $30.00

View the whole series at www.edmbooks.com

Rome Sketch Book _Jkt

Text Black_Eng Ed

EDM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 OK

CN274076 GP11 21.02.11 175#

LCH/B/w M Y

C K

3

DALIM

CN

DVD: CN414

While every effort has been taken to carry out instruction to customers satisfaction NO RESPONSIBILITY liablilty will be accepted for errors CUSTOMERS ARE THEREFORE URGED TO CHECK THOROUGHLY BEFORE AUTHORISING PRINT RUNS

Rome Sketchbook  

Rome Sketchbook transports the reader to the magnificent centre of ancient Europe, the home of breathtaking cityscapes and inspiring archite...

Rome Sketchbook  

Rome Sketchbook transports the reader to the magnificent centre of ancient Europe, the home of breathtaking cityscapes and inspiring archite...

Advertisement