We started sketching class yesterday at Piazza di Spagna (aka the "Spanish Steps"), and I spent my time helping students - it's a very challenging subject. When we broke for lunch, I scooted ahead to do a sketch of the Palazzina di Pio IV, which turns the corner with a beautiful composition of engaged columns, inscribed tablets, and a fountain at the base. My students caught up and started gathering around just as I was beginning to put down the first washes. I sort of rushed it at the end, but was still happy with the result.
Next we walked down the street to the Villa Giulia, built for Julius III in 1550-55, and designed be Vignola, Vasari, and Ammannati ... "with some help from Michelangelo," or so says my guidebook. It contains the national museum of Etruscan antiquities - though I suppose it's redundant to say "Etruscan antiquities," because, if it was made by Etruscans, then it must be ancient. The museum is very interesting, but the villa is really fascinating. The organization of the plan and the way the nymphaeum drops in section ... it's a sequence of spaces that's impossible to capture in one or two perspectives, so I opted for a plan/section/paraline combination. It was a great challenge!
I only managed to make it for about 30 minutes at the Rome Sketchcrawl this past Saturday ... I was busy welcoming the new group of students. It would have been nice to have more time and meet more of the local sketchers, but hopefully next time. I did get a chance to do a quick watercolor of the Lateran Obelisk - the largest in the world. It was originally carved in the 15th century BC, then brought to Rome in 367 AD to be placed in the Circus Maximus. It was rediscovered in 1587, and re-erected by Domenico Fontana in 1588 (that's a brief summary of the text at the bottom of the sketch). If I'd had more time, I would have added the buildings that were in the near-distance behind the obelisk, but I actually like the way this turned out ... it gives much stronger emphasis to the obelisk itself. It's good to be back in Rome, lots to draw!