Some emperors, let's say the ones considered to be the worst: Caligola and Nero are famous also for their luxurious life stiles.Both of them had built for themselves amazing party boats.
We have many informations about 2 boats realized for emperor Caligola in the first century AD. that have been discovered in the last century in the lake of Nemi south of Rome.
A contrast originated between artists and tapestry workshops:
The artist provided the preparatory draft that was sized and painted either by the artist himself or by a workshop specialized artist.
Draft and models circulated. The workshops used the same models several times.
Clients chose their tapestry between these models whose details could be combined: like figures, backgrounds or floral motifs.
The workshops also took inspiration from major artists copying details or figures that were used out of their original contest.
The controversy between artists and tapestry workshops broke out in bruxelles in 1476. The result was the prohibition of intervening on the painted models from the weavers. Only background and decorative elements could be changed.
A period of crisis and rivalry between Flemish and English manufacture along the 1300 hundred produced a major change in French and Flemish tapestry production.
The workshop specialized in luxurious production. The ateliers were converted to use the techniques allowing the use of finest materials, fine details and artistic expression.
Refined tapestry production required big investment to purchase the costly raw material (linen, wool, silk, gold and silver) and the qualified technicians.
Entrepreneurs merchants anticipated the money needed for the tapestry production and to support the payment delays of the buyers.
First the wire bundles were sized to be placed on the loom creating the warp. 4 weaver were required to accomplish this task.
The second phase was to sort all the needed colored wires and to organize them in families of colors.
Thirdly the weaving of the rimming and finally the in weave of the design.
The loom could be vertical or horizontal.
The vertical loom allowed freedom of interpretation: the carton was placed next to it and could be interpreted by the weaver, vertical loom not allowed precision.
Horizontal loom had the carton placed below and allowed to copy the model exactly creating a mirror copy of the painting.
Horizontal loom was favored for exclusive commissions.
The weavers worked one next to the other on section of about 1m, or half a meter if gold treat was used.
Historically fabric was used to depict heraldic symbols. These kept being depicted but the subjects widely increased.
Sacred subjects were required for cathedral’s choir and were usually taken from the bible or evangelic episodes.
Pagan subject varied from the ornamental and vegetal patterns of the medieval times to most complex ones usually aimed to commemorate their commitments.
Hunting or war scenes were popular as episodes from ancient Greek and Roman history.
Historical and celebrative subjects were required too. Naturalistic themes continued to be produced as well.
Tapestry art developed mainly in northern Europe since its main function was to help with the warming of the rooms within the residences of kings and noblemen.
The technique was applied to create ornaments for chairs, bed, and other furnitures aside from the walls decoration. Nowadays the wall tapestries are the only ones preserved in museums.
The habit of transferring the ‘tapestry room’ and sets from one residence to the other was practical but damaged many manufactures. Cut were done to large tapesties to adjust them to the new locations.
Arazzi Room, Capitoline Museum, Rome
apestry has ancient origins; findings of weaven trheads were foud in ancient egypt and hellenistic greece.
In the odissey is remarked the endless weawing work of Penelope, ulysses wife.
The copto tapestries dating from the first centuries of christianity are considered the finest exemple from the past due to tecnhical skills and complexity.
The technique was introduced back in Europe by the Flemish after the crusade that placed Baldovino di Fiandra on Jerusalem’s throne in the 12th hundred.
COPTO TAPESTRY, Museo Alto Medioevo, Roma
The tapestry is characterized by the simultaneous creation of the fabric together with its decoration.
The tapestry makers pass the colored threads of the plot on the warp threads fixed on the loom.
It is an intermediate workpiece between picture and embroidery. The figures are superimposed on existing tissue in the embroidery.
The name ‘Arazzo’ (cloth of raza) comes from the town of Arraz where the best tapestries were produced in the Middle Ages.
The fourteenth and fifteenth century marked the heyday of the tapestry technique.
Several factories specialized in the production of tapestries in Europe producing artworks for the aristocratic or ecclesiastical patrons.
A splendid image of the original accommodation of the tapestries woven in the 15 hundreds in Bruxelles from cartoons painted by Raphael. The pope Leo X committed these priceless works to ornate the side walls of the Sistine chapel.
Rome in ancient times had more than an hippodrome:
The most famous is surely the Circus Maximus together with the one built by the emperor Caligula in the area of the Vatican.
As we know well, Caligula circus, finished by the emperor Claudius, was the site of the execution of the early Christians including saint Peter, the first apostle, ordered by emperor Nero in 65AD.
Frequently in ancient roman times roman houses had no running water.
Private water was a privilege granted only to the wealthiest members of the society.
The most of the ordinary people lived in condominium with water supply granted along the street. Bath facilities were extremely common and every roman city had several bathhouses. The large ones built by the emperors were called Bath while the ones built by private citizens were named Balnea.
The entire religious and political life of ancient Rome was determined by the ‘Auspicia’.
This world means the ‘observation of the birds’ and derived from the Latin worlds ‘avis’ and ‘spicio’.
The ancient Romans were observing the number of birds, their way of flying and position in the sky: A square section of the sky was divided into 4 parts and the attitudes and number of birds entering this area and moving within it gave information about the God’s will.
In Western culture it exist a widespread difficulty to accept the presence of colours in ancient art.
The neoclassical period and Winckelmann ideas are still rooted and we keep believing ancient temple’s ornaments or statues were merely white or plan.
Of course this is not true.
Just think about the function of a temple aimed to worship a deity who was represented at the top of the temple front.
Santa Maria Antigua, is a tiny church located in the roman forum, at the foot of the Palatine hill just below the Domus Tiberiana.
It’s a sixth century A.D. church with remains of fresco decorations dating from the Byzantine time until the middle of the 9th century.
It is considered the Sistine Chapel of a thousand years ago being the place where to study the evolution of art along 2 centuries.
The emperors Constantine, ruling over the western empire, and Licinius ruling over the eastern roman empire in 313ad met in the city of Milan on occasion of the wedding of Licinius with Constantia, Constantine’s sister.
The meeting took place in the splendid imperial palace and in that occasion administrative instructions were sent to functionaries throughout the empire.
They were aimed to reinforce a decree issued by Galerius in 311 which gave the Christians the status of a legitimate religion. The two emperors ordered also that Christian communities were returned all their properties.
Later historians named it ‘Edict of Milan’.
In Easter week there are many celebrations in the Vatican. Travelers that wish to visit Rome has to remember that the visit of Saint Peter Basilica can be difficult, while the Vatican museums are closed on April the 8th and 9th.
The liturgical calendar and activities of the Pope in 2017 Easter week :
Sunday April 9th
Palm Sunday and Passion of the Lord
Saint Peter's Square, at 9:30: PAPAL MASS
at 12:00 Angelus
I Iove Rome and constantly reflect on how, along the centuries the city has been modified by the the Emperors, the popes, the wealthy members of the aristocracy and of the church, and finally the Italian government.
I know when streets were opened and why, when squares were embellished, when church were built or remodelled.
Why and who decided and paid for all of this amazing urban ornament we can still enjoy now.
Every March 15th we got an appointment.
In Largo Argentina square, where the Curia of Pompey used to be, we meet and participate to the re-enactment of the assassination of Julius Caesar that occurred 2061 years ago now!
The Curia of Pompey is not visible but we know that it lies underneath the Teatro Argentina. The square is fascinating and keeps a vivid memory of the past due to the remains of four republican temples visible in its centre on a lower street level.
This blog is aimed to share with you my Roman experiences, reflections and researches.