Rome has one of the oldest histories of Jewish in habitation. The first Jews came to Rome in the 2ond century BCE escaping the rule of the Hellenistic Selucid dynasty after Alexander the Great. When Rome incorporated Judea into the Empire following the Jewish-Roman War and Diaspora many more Jews moved into the Empire and especially Rome. Skipping over many centuries, Rome was on and off again a place where Jews were welcomed. As anti-Jewish sentiments took hold in the 15th century with Jews being expelled from Spain and ares controlled by Spain, Rome became a place of haven even if they were then put into the Ghetto. There were five separate traditions of worship that had to be accommodated in a single allowed Temple. After the creating of the Italian secular state in 18771, Jews were once again given civil rights and they became ardent patriots. It was during this time, the first decade of the 20th century that the new, Great Synagogue was built in Art Deco style.
Before going on to pictures, I there is one small story from the museum that cracked Wife and I up. It was a display describing wedding traditions and going to an ancient one that called for the husband's family to put up a certain amount of money for the bride in case she was widowed or divorced. A good half of the text then went into a discussion of the arguments over time of exactly how much modern money or silver the ancient text was equivalent to. If there is ANYTHING the defines the Jewish persona it is the willingness, no, the absolute need to argue every side of every question!
Pictures of the Great Synagogue
Street scenes on the way to our next destination
Which was the...
...Galleria Dori Pamphilj
Sorry, more history
The Pamphilj were one of the great noble houses of Italy that dominated Papal and Church politics in the late Medieval and Renaissance period. One of them who became Pope Innocent X, started the art collection that became the basis for this private museum that is still owned by the family. The art was put into some kind of instrument back then which ensured that it could never be sold piecemeal. This museum had the individual audio guides which are great for folks like Wife and I. There were not many folks here EXCEPT for one freaking tour group whose guide I swear watched for wherever we were and brought her group to us...even when we backtracked or waited until they went by us.
With my new found eye for art based upon the hidden detail, I did not even attempt to take pictures of every significant work of art, but focused on the things that caught my interest.
First a bit of family
This is a painting of Pope Innocent X by Velasquez
Considering it was done in the 1650's it is amazing how sharp it is...like a photograph
This is a bust of his brother who was a Cardinal but gave it up the position to marry. He was on the family's shit list
Our narrator, a current scion of the family, noted the incredible carving detail necessary to make the ruffled collar.
Then there was this formidable woman...their Mother, who according to our narrator was the driving force behind the family's rise to power. I think the carving on her head piece is pretty spectacular too.
Speaking of formidable women, Photographer in chief ready to begin mission Galleria Doria Pamphilj
I'd like to point out first of all even though we like to think in de-I land that we lead a rather Imperial life (I mean we have Tower and a Hanging Garden right?), going to a place like this that used to be this family's residence, makes you realize you still have something to aspire to.
Let's take the lovely, minimalist halls
The restrained use of wall decoration
And let's not forget the ceilings
To be honest, I would have paid the price of admission just for the art on the ceilings
Trope d'oeil was a big deal creating the allusion of vaults where none existed
There was one section where at each post between windows there was a painting of a figure as if they were holding up the ceiling
And yet some were quite whimsical
Some examples of the ceiling art with details
Of the paintings there were a few that stood out
This was done by a Flemish artist during the 15th century and mocks money lenders and those that make use of them. It is caricature style that we would recognize today
And there were five paintings by an unknown French artist that made use of the unusual technique of having the figures lit by a single candle in the picture
Ciao until tomorrow!