Bellissima

November 10th, 2008
Da Rembrandt a Vermeer: Valori civili nella pittura fiamminga e olandese del '600

It’s not often that a Vermeer travels to Rome but transportation strikes here are frequent enough that I was obliged to take a 50 minute walk from my house instead of the usual 15 minute bus ride downtown to get a preview of a promising exhibition of Dutch and Flemish painting.

After the perfectly straight walk (Via Nomentana/Via del Quirinale) on a perfect day I bounded up the travertine steps of the Museo di Roma, picked up a press kit, slowed down and resigned myself to wait through the press conference until the exhibition doors opened. A quick glance around told me that my friend Paolo, who was supposed to meet me at 12:00 sharp, made a no-show evidently unwilling to take the long midday walk.

With the conference 5 minutes underway, someone called my name from behind: it was Paolo. With a typical Italian gesture he commanded me to desert the conference on the spot and come with him. I obeyed since he possesses an instinctive ability turn a no into a yes, open a closed door, and find things under unturned rocks. While such traits are not an uncommon here in Italy, my friend has another one we both share, one that is rare on this peninsula: he has an unconditional allegiance to the art of Vermeer’s.

Shuffled past a few guards, a left and two rights, down a narrow corridor, up a narrower elevator, past last minute preparations, we got into the exhibit. In fact, Paolo hadn’t been late at all. He had been locked on to the Woman with a Pearl Necklace pretty much to himself since 11:00. The exhibition setting was striking and there were none but a few apathetic cameramen. It is not everyday that ones gets to see a Vermeer painting without the usual hustle bustle. Some observations will follow.

2 Responses to “Bellissima”

  1. ARech

    Despite all trouble with the strike, wasn’t it a wonderful gift on your ’special’ day? Armed with a bit of pre-information about locality I could follow so wonderful! Thanks! Can’t wait to visit the exhibit in late January, making my own discoveries.

    AR

  2. dutchbaby

    This is a lovely story. I love Vermeer also and will go through some lengths to see one in person. I like your blog very much!

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