Capriccio of satyr and
nymph in church portico,
Piazza del Popolo
pen & ink 9 " x 4 "
|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
|The Piazza as threshold
I t a l y
Piazza del Popolo
watercolor 8 " x 11 "
Porta Flaminia (Rome)
sanguine pencil sketch 11" x 17"
Statue of Primavera in
front of IL Pincio
pen & ink 6" x 10"
Italian piazzas can be places of solace or inspiration for the city resident or
visitor. For me, one late October afternoon in 2008, the Piazza of Santa
Maria del Popolo in ROME became a threshold. As I was finishing work on
the watercolor of this urban space seen below, a tall, stately Roman lady
approached me, arm in arm with her "badante" or companion, an almost
petite, dark-complexioned woman with piercingly kind eyes, and asked me if
they could view my interpretation of the elliptical piazza. "Why," she
exclaimed in her musical Italian, "you have made the piazza look square --
exactly like it was before the arrival of Napoleon! In fact," she proceeded, "I
own an engraving of the piazza by Giuseppe Vasi (CLICK HERE) as it looked
before the architect Valadier turned it into this awful ellipse. You must come
to my house to see that 'veduta'!"
Two weeks later, this most learned and hospitable lady, Alessandra
Garboli, invited me to her house to view the Vasi print, and, as it turned out,
to acquire my own watercolor. That afternoon we talked of so many things:
for example, of how her "badante," Ines, only trusted plants and mistrusted
people; of how right Ines was, since the philosopher, Thomas Hobbes,
himself, described human nature in no more pleasant terms; and of how,
speaking of philosophers and human nature, the reformer Martin Luther
himself had visited the piazza shortly before launching the Protestant
Reformation in 1517, -- "to meet with the Augustinian monks there!" she
added. Mrs. Garboli then said she would be happy to introduce me to a
gallery in Cetona, in the province of Siena, where she thought I could exhibit
The rest, to use the old saying, is history, and the piazza became a threshold
for me in Italy. The exhibit in Cetona indeed took place, opening on the eve of
December 8th, 2008, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, CLICK HERE to
view images of that night.
Below are other drawings I have made in and around the Piazza del Popolo.
Other views of the Piazza