Going to school in Rome provides so many opportunities to see exactly what we are learning about. Luckily, I’m in two classes that have weekly site visits: High Renaissance and Art and Culture of Rome. Sometimes when I’m trying to find a site at 9am, it’s hard to remember just how lucky I am, but it really is a great way to learn the class material and become more familiar with Rome.
One of my favorite places that I’ve been with a class thus far is the Montemartini museum. This is the site of Rome’s first power plant, and the building now holds excess material from the Capitoline collection. It was really interesting to see the industrial parts of the power plant juxtaposed with the ancient works of art. My professor, Jan Gadeyne, definitely gave a thorough overview of the collection that I definitely would not have gleaned from an individual visit. Additionally, I’m not even sure if I would have made it to this museum on my own, so I’m glad I was able to go with a class.
This week, with my High Renaissance art history class, I visited the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. This is a church right near school, but I never knew that it was so historical and full of such important works of art. My professor, Paolo Carloni, even secured us access to visit behind the altar and see the Bramante choir no longer accessible to the public. It was great to visit a site so close to school, that I see everyday, and learn about its significance.
Inspired by all of my recent class visits, I ventured on my own excursion today to the MACRO, or the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. It was even free entry today, because of something called the European Heritage Days. The building was ultra-modern and full of interesting angles and color contrasts. The art was contemporary and the different exhibits made me feel like I was in the MOMA in New York. It was really refreshing to see modern art, after being confronted with so many ancient artifacts and churches over the past few weeks. The building seemed so out of place in the quiet Roman neighborhood, surrounded by traditional apartment buildings, but it somehow worked. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and it was also nice to visit a museum at my own pace without having to worry about listening to my professor or taking notes.