Tuesday, September 22, 2009

La Fontana del Facchino - The Little Porter Fountain

Il Facchino - Via Lata off Via del Corso, Rome
Welcome to the first of a new series of posts - Discover Rome - taking a closer look at some of the hidden treasures of Rome and some of my favourite Roman curiosities that are sometimes overshadowed by the city's more famous landmarks.

Whilst many visitors to Rome will have probably seen the statues of Pasquino or Il Babuino, it would be easy to miss the fountain which is my personal favourite of the so-called 'Congregation of Wits', otherwise known as Rome’s 'Talking Statues' - Il Facchino (The Porter).

Once situated on Via del Corso, this late sixteenth-century fountain of a water seller carrying a leaking barrel was moved to the side street Via Lata, in 1874, where it is found to this day, tucked away from the teeming masses of tourists and shoppers along the main street. Generally thought to be the work of Jacopo Del Conte, in 1751 the architect Luigi Vanvitelli attributed the statue to Michelangelo Buonarroti!

Traditionally, political satires known as pasquinades, written anonymously by the ordinary people of Rome to ridicule the ruling classes and the Pope, were attached to the talking statues. Whilst Pasquino is still covered with photocopied grievances and political flyers to this day, the craggy faced porter is pretty much ignored, apart from the odd bit of ubiquitous Roman graffiti.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cindy Sherman at the Gagosian Gallery

Earlier this year I wrote enthusiastically about the stunning Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery on Via Francesco Crispi. Clearly, that show was no flash in the pan, because the Gagosian is currently presenting another gem of a show with a series of portraits by New York photographer Cindy Sherman. The main oval exhibition space, which must surely require extra consideration when hanging a show, works particularly well as a location for these very large Sherman images. As ever, each of the photographs is a self-portrait of sorts, yet whilst the “real” Cindy Sherman is playing a carefully constructed part, hidden behind makeup, wigs and meticulously chosen props, as the viewer walks around the continuous, curved space, a sense of recognition in each of the faces grows, a sense of being surrounded by the artist herself. In fact, in the press release Sherman is quoted as saying:

I think they are the most realistic characters I have done. I completely empathised with them. They could be me. That's what was really scary, how easy it was to make myself look like that.
These studies of middle-aged affluent women, expensively dressed and set against studio-style backdrops illustrating the trappings of wealth and success, are unflinching in detailing every imperfection and tell tale signs of ageing, ultimately rendering these superficially successful women exposed and vulnerable.

A wonderful show.

Cindy Sherman continues at the Gagosian Gallery at Via Francesco Crispi, 16 until 19 September, 2009

Photo © Gagosian Gallery

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...