|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
In Rome, for years, this overpowering structure in the Monti neighborhood of
the Hill of the Quirinale was known as Nero's Tower . According to
tradition, the Emperor had gone up to the highest terrace of this military
citadel in full theatrical regalia to watch the burning of Rome while he
recited the passages from Homer's ILIAD describing the destruction of TROY
some ten centuries before -- by the Greeks -- after they stealthily emerged
from the Trojan Horse.
The drawing of this particular tower has been especially challenging. While its silhouette
in the old Roman skyline is definitely immense, watching eerily over the City almost like a
caricature of Batman in the old Gotham City views of that hero's comics from the 1950s,
I think one cannot simply draw it or do it justice from one single vantage point.
A couple of my own thumbnail sketches of
the tower from Via 4 Novembre (left) and
Piazza Venezia (right)
For one thing, not
only is La Torre delle
Milizie nestled in the
labyrinth of Monti, but
(since the 1920s) it
was incorporated into
archaeological area of
Trajan's Markets, as
shown in the following
view, which I had to
contrive -- somewhat
awkwardly, spatially --
from my own walks
around the Tower...
AND from a spot along
Via dei Fori
Again, the immediate garden area surrounding the base of the structure is so small, that it
takes a while to put together the overall views of the tower's sides and proportions from
far away (as seen above) and the close-up details of the base of the structure.
Although the drawings at the top of this page, in their own right, convey a sense of drama,
I am still considering the view from close up, and from below, as perhaps a stronger
portrait of the Tower of the Militia.
Using only sepia, black, and blue pencils made this
view of the Tower somewhat easier. Below it on the
left are the "exedra" from Trajan's Markets and on
the right, the old medieval loggia of the Knights of
In 1348, a great earthquake that shook Rome toppled the top third of the three tiers,
perhaps containing the terrace that was the site of Nero's demonic fantasy.