Travel

Archaic Torso of Apollo

Archaic Torso on Red

by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

[blockquote align=”left”]We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.[/blockquote]

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Travel

Galleria Borghese: Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael

Pitch: Metamorphoses

Sketch: a response to “Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius

Slackened form the burden to bear
that no man may slander

Each in turn holding onto
that life’s moment makes precious

At life’s end, he grasps his deities
ever conscious of the hereafter

Son, man, head-of-household, it is family that he ponders
It is on the strength of his back that his family is saved

Cuddled, cowered
Young carries the eternal flame, his life just began

Family escapes, life unscathed

Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius

We toured the Galleria Borghese today, and it was an inspiring experience. Bernini’s work is prominently showcased here, with Apollo and Daphne, David, Pluto and Proserpina (or The Rape of Proserpina), and Truth Unveiled by Time. Bernini is a master of a moment in motion captured in marble. I was also intrigued by the amazing detail in Canova’s Pauline Bonaparte, a sculpture of Napoleon’s sister who was reluctantly married to the reigning Prince Borghese. She was a scandalous woman who when asked how it was that she could pose nearly naked, blithely replied “Oh, there was a stove in the studio.” She left a legacy of tales regarding her jewels, clothes, lovers, the “negro” who carried her from her bath, and the servants she used as footstools. Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, elements of the painting symbolizing “fleeting happiness on earth” and “eternal happiness in heaven”.

There was also a Raphael room which displayed paintings of the Florentine School, and allowed you to view the master with his teachers in a progression of technique.

The Galleria Borghese is simply one of the best in the world… it is as magical as The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. which stunned me with their Rothko room, and their amazing collection of recognizable pieces, including Luncheon of the Boating Party.

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