So a Creative Writer and a Natural Historian walk into a bar…

Just kidding, I don’t go to bars.

But I did become both of those this week!

On the creative end, our theme was the Baroque, so we saw a lot of paintings and sculptures done by Bernini and Borromini; two rival artists at the time. In learning about these two artists, we read roman myths from Ovid, and I must say that was my favorite thing we’ve read all quarter! We read about Apollo and Daphne, Echo and Narcissus, Actaeon,  and Galatea and Polyphemous. All the stories were super interesting and relatable.

I think I prefer Bernini a bit more; his work seemed more shocking and thought provoking. When walking through some of the art galleries we went to, at first I didn’t realize why I actually was stopping and staring and commenting about all the artwork. It was because it was Baroque. All the other art we’ve looked at, I haven’t really enjoyed because to me it felt like the same thing over and over again. Same positions, same expressions. But with the Baroque, you never really know what to expect and I like that; it shocks you.

We visited the Galeria Borghese, which is really famous because it has a lot of Bernini sculptures in it. Even more, these sculptures depict some of the Roman myths we read about from Ovid. I took more interest in these than usual because I knew the stories behind them. If I had just gone to the Galeria without knowing anything, I would have just been like “Oh great, another sculpture”. But knowing the story, I was then going back and forth between the sculpture and the myth, seeing if everything made sense. I don’t know if I have a favorite myth, I like them all, but I did snap a picture of Pluto and Proserpina.

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For those of you who don’t know, Proserpina decided she wanted to stay a virgin for the rest of her life. Aphrodite was displeased and had cupid shoot an arrow into The King of Hell (Pluto) which caused him to fall in love with her. The story is called The Rape of Proserpina, but not rape in our modern day sense. Rape back then just meant abducted. So he kidnapped her and took her to Hell. Meanwhile, her mother Ceres is searching all over for her to no avail. Finally Jupiter steps in and mediates the situation so that Proserpina spends half the year in Hell and half the year above ground. So this picture is showing Pluto taking her and Proserpina fighting against him.

We also visited the Galeria Spada which was really interesting. One of my favorite things about this place was an illusion trick that Borromini constructed. The walkway in the picture below is meant to look like 115 feet. Okay, now look at it. LOOK AT IT. How many feet does it look like to you? Any guesses? You’re probably wrong. It is actually only 29 feet long. It’s really hard to see in the picture, but if you look all the way back, there is actually a statue there and from afar, it looks like a normal sized statue. But in reality, it is only two feet tall! I thought this was so cool, and it made me like Borromini a bit more.

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Inside the actually gallery, there were a lot of thought provoking pictures. I like this era because one picture will look  completely normal, but then there is always one thing that just doesn’t quite fit or make any sense. Like this picture. It’s a picture of Marc Antony and Cleopatra’s banquet, which would be totally normal, except for the random dwarf in the picture. I mean, really, what is the point of this?

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So the Baroque was the first half of the week. Then came nature.

Thursday was an all day assignment and I must say, it is the best assignment I have ever had! Cierra and I were given a set of coordinates and we had to go there super early in the morning, spend all day there and observe. We were only supposed to observe the natural world. So any living organism. THAT’S IT. This is right up my alley. I mean it doesn’t get much better than that.

Oh wait. It did get better.

Facebook-20150515-063510Our coordinates lead us to the Cimitero Monumentale del Verano. I still can’t even find words to describe this cemetery; it is hands down the most amazing cemetery I’ve ever seen. Cemetery isn’t even the right term to describe; it’s like a town for the deceased. There were huge Mausoleums, streets  and roundabouts; it was an entire neighborhood.

We did do a lot of observing but I think Cierra and I were way more interested with the cemetery itself. Walking through the “streets” we were just mesmerized. One Mausoleum, on the inside the wall was entirely covered in gold mosaics. If there is one thing anyone should know about Cierra, she LOVES mosaics. And moss. And water. And Nutella. But this mosaic was really cool.

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I just love how in Europe, and in Italy specifically, family is the most important. Everyone is buried with their family and the surviving family members put a lot of money and effort into the burial places of the deceased. In America, we do that, but not to the extent that they do it here and it shows.

Note to family: I’d like a Mausoleum built for me with a gold mosaic covering the inside. Or maybe purple…Just saying….we’ll talk details later. Years from now.

While the cemetery was amazing, what occurred later in the evening was NOT fun.

I have 30 bug bites. 25 OF THEM ARE ON MY LEGS. Cierra has bug bites in the shape of Orion’s belt. We’re dying and I’m literally itching the skin off of me; I itch so badly.

Who would think an innocent trip to the cemetery would lead to blood thirsty animals trying to suck the life out of me. I mean if it was a vampire I might be down for that. But they weren’t and I’m not and I’m a bit sour about this situation. I’m surprised I haven’t gone into anaphylactic shock or anything.

On a happy note, Cierra and I started coloring. It is extremely therapeutic. Facebook-20150515-063803

On an even happier note, ONLY 3 MORE WEEKS UNTIL I’M HOME!

I’m not looking forward to leaving Rome, but I am so looking forward to seeing my Momma again! I miss her face. And I can’t wait to see everyone else!!!

Arrivederci!

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