Sunday, June 17, 2012
A few weeks ago Domenico and I wandered over to the Capitoline Museum to see the show Lux in Arcana. I’d been hearing about this show of documents from the Vatican archives, and a few people told me it was fantastic.
I’m not sure if I’m jaded, but since I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time working with these types of documents in the archives in Florence, the show just didn’t get me that excited. The exhibition itself seemed more intent on impressing with installation shenanigans, than anything else. Computer screens instead of real labels, huge black cases for each document, and lighting so low that a headache was a given.
By the time we had made it to the end our eyes were throbbing and are backs about to break from standing in front of each document trying to decipher the writing in near darkness.
As we were stumbling out, one of the guards saw us heading towards the exit and suggested that instead of leaving, we head across the square to the Palazzo Nuovo. She must have picked up on our sensory overload, and knew we needed an antidote.
Although what we really wanted was a gelato, a coffee and a place to sit down, we dutifully headed down to the basement, crossed the underpass that runs under the Campidoglio, and emerged into our own private, light filled museum of masterpieces.
I hadn’t been to the Palazzo Nuovo in years, and certainly not since they changed the entryway. While you used to enter the museum directly from the square, now you have to get your ticket across the way, then come underground.
Although this seems to be a pain in the neck, what it really means is that once there, you have the place pretty much to yourselves.
The main attraction is the Dying Galatian. But the rest of the rooms are full to bursting with Roman sculpture. Busts galore, but also other pieces. All in their original 18th century installation.
Plus, two sculptures of what I swear are Pico's direct ancestors.
It couldn’t have been more different from the dark, crowded and uncomfortable exhibition across the way. And so was just what we needed. Thank you nameless guard, for steering us in the right direction.
Palazzo Nuovo - Capitoline Museum
Piazza del Campidoglio
Open Tuesday - Sunday 9am - 8pm