Double Duty At The Campidoglio


Apologies to my many fans for the delay in posts. Class this week was back to back at the Capitoline Hill, or Campidoglio – Drawing and Renaissance Rome. It went like this.

Day 1: Draw 24 random thumbnail sketches of things then wander around taking artsy pictures from a roof with Jenny.


Day 2: Actually learn things. So here we go.

The Piazza del Campidoglio was designed by Michelangelo to unify all the things that were already there, but his plans were not finished until long after his death. Pope Paul III was miffed that Charles V just came in and took over, so he commissioned the piazza (at least according to my professor) to be a clear signal of his and the church’s true dominance.

Our first stop on the hill was the Church of the Archeli. It was a beautiful medieval/Romanesque basilica, home to the Franciscan Observants since around 1200. Much of the artwork was recontextualized during the Counter-Reformation, which to me is some of the most interesting information about all of these buildings: how they have developed over time. For example, during the Counter-Reformation when they realized those dang Protestants weren’t going away, all of the churches had to get rid of the sections inside, including the rood screen that separated the monks from the regular congregation, which you can see the remnants of on two of the pillars. The original fresco behind the wall was by Cavallini, and depicted the fake story of the miraculous foundation of the church, which goes like this: Caesar‘s palace was here, and the Senate wanted to make him a god. But Caesar was like “Hmm, I don’t know about that guys.” So he went away and fasted and prayed for three days, during which he had a vision of a woman and child. He realizes that the child will be greater than him, and decides not to be made a god. Because he’s modest like that.

20130123_100120Other than that, there’s a cosmatesque floor, which has a network pattern in colored marble with four colors: purple porphery, green porphery, and giallo antico, and white marble.

Next we talked about the Buffalini Chapel, a side chapel on the back right of the Archeli. And talked…and talked…and talked… Granted, it was very interesting but I was getting extremely antsy. Sparknotes: Nicolo Buffalini wanted a place for his family to be buried, so he commissioned oft-ignored-and-underappreciated Renaissance perspective-master Pinturicchio to paint a mini chapel devoted to San Bernardino. There’s a whole bunch of cool stuff in there, but if anyone’s actually made it this far I think that’s enough.

In the back of the cathedral there is a tomb slab by Donatello. Casually.

There is so much more but I’m not about to retype all my notes here because I want to talk about my weekend in Florence!