November 24

Alchemical Door.

Alcehmical Door, Roome

On the Esquiline hill near Piazza Vittoria are the remains of the villa built by the marquis Palombara. Of interest is the Alchemical Door, a magic portal. One night the the alchemist Giustiniano Bono, disguised as a pilgrim, spent the night in the villa. While everyone was sleeping, he searched the garden looking for a herb with the Midas’ Touch. He was last seen going through the Alchemical Door. Near the door flakes of gold were found as well as a paper full of mysterious writings and symbols. The marquis had these symbols engraved on all the villa’s gates hoping someone could translate them.

Flanking the door are two grotesque creatures probably representing the Egyptian divinity Bes.

There have been claims that Athanasius Kircher and Bernini helped design the door. Apparently in 1656, after visiting Christina of Sweden’s alchemical laboratory in Riario Palace (now Palazzo Corsini),  the marquis Palombara became interested in alchemical transmutation.


“It is indeed absolutely plain that all things seen by us are in truth other than what they seem.”  Athanasius Kircher, The Great Art of Light and Shadow (1646)

Related: Roman College + PIAZZA DEL COLLEGIO ROMANO + Scientific Spectacle in Baroque Rome: Athanasius Kircher and the Roman College Museum + Athanasius Kircher’s Museum in Rome + Inquiry as Collection: The Athanasius Kircher Museum in Rome + Athanaseus Kircher, S.J. 1602-1680 + Kircher and The first published illustration of a magic lantern.

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November 22

Doves in a Freize

Doves in a Freize, via Tagliamento, Rome



Related: Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi per le Arti Decorative, il Costume e la Moda dei secoli XIX e XX + Villino Vitale with Duilio Cambellotti freize



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November 20

Casina delle Civette ceiling

Casina delle Civette ceiling with stained glass and stucchi

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November 19

Women and Windows

Woman at the Window

Woman at the Window, Street Art, San Lorenzo, Rome

Why are there so many paintings by male artists depicting women at a window?

The window defines an ambiguous space….that existing in between here and there.

Some voyeurs look inside, others look out…the art of watching.


Related: Pablo Picasso’s Woman at the Window, 1952 + Woman at a Window, Caspar David Friedrich, 1822 + Girl at Window by Rembrandt  1645 + Girl at Window, Salvador Dali 1925 + Waiting at the window, Matisse + Young Woman Before the Window, Pierre Bonnard, 1898 + Finding Refuge in Wyeth’s Windows + The Window, Edouard Vuillard + woman at a window, Eleven A.M., 1926 by Edward Hopper + Degas’s Woman at the Window (1871) + Camille Monet at the Window Argentuile, Claude Monet, 1873 + The Art of Watching. The literary Motif of the Window and its Potential for Metafiction in contemporary Literature by Gianna Zocco +

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November 18

Duilio Cambellotti, LA FALSA CIVILTÀ

“La falsa civiltà” di Duilio Cambellotti


Sanpietrini via Tagliamento

Pope Sixtus V almost fell out of his carriage because the road was so bad.  He decided that the streets of Rome needed to be paved. Thus the production of stone cubes to be used as cobblestones.  They were named sanpietrini in honor of San Pietro, the head of the church whose name means stone.

But to pave a road meant to cover the earth. Artist and designer Duilio Cambellotti was not particularly fond of them. He sustained the requalification of the “Agro Romano”, the name for the countryside surrounding Rome. Earth needs to be naked, he believed, otherwise how can anything grow.



Related:   Duilio Cambellotti (1876-1960)…  Duilio Cambellotti Archivio +  Museo Duilio Cambellotti Latina + Cambellotti’s childhood hood on via Filippi facing Piazza della Chiesa Nuova (rione Parione). In 1926 he created a home studio at Piazza Perin del Varga 4 (Flaminio)

where to find decoration by Cambellotti in Rome

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