Joe Sparrow / Illustrator - Animator - Designer / 07758224292 /

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


So, I'm in Rome, enjoying the best italian internet this hostel can offer. It's been pretty sweet so far, and to persuade myself and others that I've been doing something worthwhile in coming here I've decided to make a post on here just to say where I've been and what I've done.

I've done quite a few drawings and paintings now, and we had a brief crit yesterday of everyone's work (the standard of first year stuff is actually pretty exceptional - much better than lisbon, I think) and the tutors mostly seem to like what I've been doing.

Here are some of the places I've visited (and liked).

Firstly: the Santa Maria Maggiore cathedral.

This building is unbelievable. It's referred to as one of the 5 "papal basilicas" of Rome, and is supposedly meant in general to be a massive monument to the Virgin Mary. Being as baroque as it is it's an utter dream come true for me to walk through - jesus christ! look at all these squares!

I'm serious this is some sort of heaven for me.
At the back you can see it has a massive "canopy" for the main altar which is these four massive pillars supporting a gigantic gold-coloured decorated plinth. Right in front of that, though, it has this really odd "well" space, an large oblong cut into the floor about three or four metres deep which leads to a small altar/shrine thing, in much the same way the basilica at St. Peter's has. It's clearly not a massive tourist attraction in comparison to some of the other cathedrals but it's bigger than Truro Cathedral at home. One thing that seems to recurr here is that everything is massive - seriously, all the buildings seem to be about twice as big as they should reasonably be, especially in...

The Vatican!

Whether or not you're a christian really doesn't have much to do with it - the architecture, art and sheer, unbridled wealth of this place really does give cause for a lot of jaws to hit the floor, not least mine. Inside the Basilica itself is similar to the S. Maria but about twice as large again. Do you get what I mean about the size thing? This place is fucking enourmous.


There's a wall in one of the side rooms that lists every single pope and the date of their pontification (I'm pretty sure that's the right word) which leads all the way back to St. Peter. Brought up as a sort of lax christian child, I never gave the whole gospel story much thought as actually having happened (which is a sensible opinion to hold, I think, you can't sensibly trust that many millennia of doctoring, whatever the historical basis) so it was a genuine shock to walk into a place which openly says "St. Peter's remains are here". This person which is in the Bible as an apostle is buried here. For Roman Catholics I'm sure it's a satisfying confirmation of their beliefs - I can still doubt it as a sensible outsider - but even as a non-christian it's an impressive thought that here is the point where God supposedly connects with the earth, the super hanc petram of an entire belief.

Lastly, a non-church - The Roman Forum.

I don't feel like saying much more other than "I was here" and how I found it weird to imagine a people with a system of beliefs which didn't revolve around one god. you see so much christian stuff here it's really odd to come to the forum and look at a building that was built in honor of Jupiter or something. I wish paganism was more prevalent today, it's pretty fun.

That's it for today. Last full day of drawing, and then I come home tomorrow. Ciao!


Anonymous said...


Enjoy your squares. I know how you can relate to them.

Anonymous said...

hi i'm ginevra petrozzi and i live in rome , i'm a really romanaccia de sangue< della mitica e magggica roma!!
byyy ginnyitalia