The St’Helen Chapel: where gold and mysticism stay together

cappella di sant'elenaThere are many places in Rome rich of mystical and religious atmosphere, where mainly a Christian man could find the right location where pray and get in touch with the real sense of the religion. But the Chapel of St’Helen, the Costantino’s Mother, represents a special place for its relics and fot its history.

First of all, I shortly speak about Helen, a woman who strongly embraced the Christian religion. According to the tradition, she decided to go in the Holy Land, in Palestine, in order to find one of the central relic of the Christianity: the Truth Cross, where Jesus Christ died. She was a clever and proud woman, and when she met a man who knew the exact place of the Cross, she asked him where it is. But the poor and old man didn’t want to answer to that foreign person. This is the reason why she inflicted pain to him, until he decided to count everything. In this way St’Helen found the famous “Golgota”, the hill where Jesus Christ basilica santa croce in gerusalemmeand the two thiefs were murdered. But the story doesn’t end here, because she founds three crosses! What could be the real One? Helen imagined a ploy and ordered to bring there a dead body. It was touched by pieces of the three cross, and when it got in touch with a wooden splinter of the Real and Truth Cross, it resuscitated. So, Helen decided to bring in Rome that piece of Cross…and this is the reason why the basilica that contains it, built during the first period of the IV century, is named “Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme” (The Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem).

golgota groundToday we could admire that relics close to other important proofs of the sanctity of the Chstianity: inside the Chapel of St’Helen there’s also the ground of the Golgota that was brought in Rome from Helen.

But what we could see inside the chapel i salso its fantastic mosaic decoration. Try to take a glance just above you, and you will look something incredible and fine gilded background, where coloured tiles form the holy face of Jesus Christ, surrounded and surmounted by angels. It was realized during the XVI century, mosaico cappella sant elenawhen the basilica was totally restored. Imagine how it is special for the Christianity! Of course, there are other pieces of the Holy Cross in Rome and in the world. They usually belonged to a period, the Middle Ages, where were created false relics in order to gain something, especially money.

But that wooden splinter symbolizes St Helen’s, the mother of the man who change the history allowing to the Christian people to come out from the shadows to speak the language of Jesus.


An “arch” in Rome with a “damnatio memoriae”

Arco degli ArgentariThe “Arco degli Argentari” is a structure with architrave (so it isn’t a real arch), which stands just next to the portico of the Church of San Giorgio al Velabro. The area is plenty of remains which manage to bring our minds in very ancient times, when Rome was just born, when the kings tried to improve the city with many public services, as the market of Foro Boario. It was the symbol of a Rome which wanted to open new ways in the world.

For this reason it isn’t a case if the “Arco degli Argentari” is a gift of the “bankers and the merchants of Rome”, offered to the Imperial family of Settimio Severo, in the first years of the III century AD. The “Arco degli Argentari” in fact was used as one of the entrance of the Foro Boario, the place in which the donors worked. Monuments as arches or something similar were very common in Rome, mainly if the receiving was the Emperor: in this way it was easier received some favours

damnatio memorie arts in romeWhat is important to say it isn’t just the fine and rich marble decorations, with the figures and reliefs which completely cover the surface, but what there isn’t…in fact close to the figures of the Imperial family, as Caracalla or Settimio Severo, we could observe a sort of empty space, a relief not so well preserved that looks like to be destroyed. And in fact it was destroyed, in order to cancel the figure. This is a clear example of “damnatio memoriae“, a roman tradition which was used against the enemies of Rome or the men who wasn’t able to have civil behaviours. Nero, for

Ritratto di Caracalla, inv. S 464
Ritratto di Caracalla

example, was convicted, after his death, with the “damnatio memoriae”. For this reason today it’very difficult find something depicting the emperor. Moreover, that cancelled figure represents Geta, the Caracalla’s brother. Geta was the Settimio Severo’s heir, because it was his first son, while Caracalla was the secondo one. But in a period full of murdereds and blood, Carcalla killed his brother accusing him of treason. And the punishment for this crime was a “damnatio memoriae”.

But probably, Caracalla just wanted to eliminate an aspirant to the throne…

The Capitoline She-Wolf

Lupa Capitolina RomaEntering in the Capitoline Museum you could get in touch with the Real History of Rome, with its remains and proofs of the most important city of the Ancient Times. Of course, the museum hosts many archeological works of art, but there is just one which could describe all the importance and the powerful of the Caput Mundi. A sort of animal symbol that underlines what is Rome and what could be its meaning. I am talking about the famous “SheWolf“, hosted in a room of the museum and surrounded by the name of some men who tried to improve and make larger Rome.

When you walk through the rooms of the Palazzo Conservatori, one of the palaces which form the archeological collection of the most ancient museum in the world, it is difficult to stay some minutes in front of this bronze SheWolf with two childrens in the act of drinking her milk. This simple statue which we could date back to the IV century BC, represent all the meaning of Rome. It depicts its divine origine, its powerful and eternity, the moment in which Rome started to stay in the History, making it.

arts in rome eventMoreover the SheWolf with the Twins, Romolo and Remo, had some mysteries inside it…first of all, the archeologists are discussing about its age. We know that She is an Etruscan work and that She was realized by an Etruscan workshop. Then, we know that firstly the SheWolf didn’t have the Twins, because according to the traditions they were insert by an artist named Pollaiolo, during the final part of the XV century, when the Pope Sixtus IV decided to make a gift to Rome. The SheWolf, in fact, belonged to the treasure of the Vatican, and with this deed the Pope wanted to stay closer to Rome and its population. This gift and the SheWolf, for this reason, represent the first museum in the world, just because many works of art were given to Senate of Rome of the Renaissance. But today the archeologists think that the Twins were add by Pollaiolo copying an ancient representation and sources of the II century BC, just two century after the realization of the statue.

tn_DSC_0100Then, we will stay in front of it, you should try to think about its enormous value for Rome and Romans. It was an example of the great and mythical origins of Rome: the SheWolf depicts the Nature and the Gods who decided to help Romolo and Remo, in order to create the most powerful city in the world. The SheWolf was used just for political things and propaganda. Augustus was the first to use it in order to remember to the Romans where were their origins. Hadrian, in a period in which the classical art and the memories of Rome had to improve, decided the same thing. Massenzio, when he stayed inside the Aurelian Wall waiting for Costantino and his army, tried to obtain the esteem of the population with the SheWolf…So, do you observe how She is important? A normal SheWolf who did something against her natural instinct symbolizes the entire Rome and, in a certain way, the entire of our History.


Arts in Rome Apre le Porte – Open Day

Arts in Rome Open DayDove e Quando

L’Open Day di Arts in Rome si terrà Sabato 27 Febbraio 2016 dalle 18:00 – 20:00 presso la sede della University of Washington sita in Via del Biscione Snc (Campo dei Fiori), Roma.

In concomitanza con il Corso Intensivo di Disegno di Anatomia Umana della durata di 10 gg, Arts in Rome ha organizzato un pomeriggio a Porte Aperte ove chiunque è invitato a “Fare un Salto” per poter vedere di persona una Lezione di Disegno con Modella dal Vero e avere l’opportunità di conoscerci di persona.

Inoltre abbiamo organizzato una Video Conference con l’Insegnante Glenn Vilppu e avrai l’opportunità di conoscerlo e fare domande sul suo prossimo Workshop che si terrà a Roma a fine Giugno 2016. Glenn è stato un insegnate presso la Walt Disney, Marvel, etc… con esperienza pluriennale di insegnamento.

Programma Open Day:

  • 18:00 Accoglienza e Benvenuto
  • 18:10 Breve presentazione di Arts in Rome e dei successivi Workshop
  • 18:15 Osservazione della Lezione di Disegno dal Vero tenuta da Carlo Alberto Palumbo
  • 19:00 Live Conference con Glenn Vilppu
  • 20:00 Saluti

Tutti coloro i quali parteciperanno all’Open Day avranno la possibilità di ricevere sconti per i prossimi Workshop.


La porta della University of Washington che si affaccia su Campo dei Fiori sarà chiusa per motivi di sicurezza pertanto si prega di contattarci ai numeri sotto indicati per poter accedere all’Open Day.

Infine saremo lieti di ricevere prenotazioni in anticipo per una migliore organizzazione per email all’indirizzo [email protected] ma non sono necessarie.

328 1424151 (WhatsApp also)
393 9433952 (WhatsApp also)

Vi aspettiamo numerosi!


Open Day Arts in Rome

Arts in Rome Open DayWhen and Where

Arts in Rome Open Day is on Saturday 27 February 2016 from 18:00 – 20:00 at University of Washington, P.zza del Biscione, 95 (Campo dei Fiori), Roma.

Arts in Rome has organized the Drop-in sessions for visiting the on-going Drawing Workshop.

You can observe the Teacher lesson during the Life Drawing Model, have a Live Conference with Glenn Vilppu by Skype for know his Workshop on 19 – 29 June and more.

Open Day Program:

  • 18:00 Hospitality in the Boarding Room
  • 18:10 A Little presentation of Arts in Rome and our Next Workshops
  • 18:15 Observe the Drawing Lesson in the Classroom
  • 19:00 Live Conversation with Glenn Vilppu  (Check out your Time Zone here Rome Time Zone)
  • 20:00 Greetings

All those who attend the Event  will have the opportunity to receive Special Discounts for the subscription of other courses.


The door of the University of Washington will be closed for safety so please contact us on the following numbers;
We will be grateful for a reservation by email to [email protected] but is not necessary.

328 1424151 (WhatsApp also)
393 9433952 (WhatsApp also)

We are wainting for you!

A prehistoric elephant in Rome

arts in rome study abroad roman history rome historyRome hosts many places from museums to archeological areas in which we can observe its huge history, from the first King to the last emperor, or from the building of the first church to the great construction sites like St Peter’s Basilica. Moreover, we can find in Rome many hidden places visited by people who have the fortune to know them. One of them is the Museum of the Origins, set inside one of the majestic palaces of La Sapienza University. The modern headquarter was totally built during the Fascism, but it is so important when we could entry in this museum. In fact, there is a wonderful surprise…

villaggioRomaLa Sapienza University, the main and the most ancient university in Rome, was founded by the Pope Bonifacio VIII during the first part of the XIV century. His will was to provide Rome with a university, so a place in which all the most clever human minds in that period could stay and study, as the other italian and european example. Today, La Sapienza University doesn’t host just classroom or auditoriums, but also many little museums linked to the departments. One of them is this museum, in which we can learn something about the ancient origin of the land of Rome, when the city was just a dream, and when volcanos, waters and earthquakes changed a lot the place in which, after many centuries, will bring to light the powerful of the “Caput Mundi”.

Amid the relief maps of the first huts used by the men of the Neolitic, and some Skulls and Skeletons belonged to people lived here thousand of year ago, you will find a curious and large Cranium.

What is it? Why is so special?

arts in rome la sapienza university rome history

It belonged to an ancient elephant which looks like to a Mammuth. What is curious in this history is the place of the discovering: the Roman Forum! It was bring to light during the excavations which took place in the area during the first years of the XX century, when Benito Mussolini decided to bring new stability in his Rome, changing its profile in order to create a sort of bridge between the modern Rome with the ancient one. Try to imagine how strange and wonderful is this discover: in the Roman Forum, when Rome created his new world, when the Roman society managed to develop with marble temples, columns and architraves, when Julius Caesar celebrated himself, as other powerful men and emperors…there, many years ago, an Elephant walked through the virgin lands of the seven hills and the little mountains, where the two volcanos, Sabatino and Laziale, shape with their fires and lavas the place in which a little village will become the centre of the ancient world.

San Bernardo alle Terme: a little Pantheon in Rome

Pantheon of RomeThe Pantheon is one of the symbol of the ancient Rome, despite of its transformation in a Basilica, since the beginning of the VII century.
This wonderful and impressive monument has inspired many artists over the centuries, due to its beauty and its huge dome.
This is the reason why in Rome, on canvas or walls, we could observe decorations very similar to the ones who covered the dome of the Pantheon.

Moreover, in Rome there’s also a XVI century church, erected for the order of the Cistercensi, in which we could find a copy of the Pantheon dome.

Facciata San Bernardo alle Terme

I’m speaking about the

Church of San Bernando alle Terme

which stands not far from Via Nazionale and Piazza della Repubblica, so in the real city centre.
This sacred place has a round shape because it was built just above the remains of one of the ancient angular tower of the majestic Diocleziano’s Baths, which stood in there.
That enormous building, plenty of marble decorations, vaulted rooms and swimming pool, covered a large area, was used over the centuries for many things and aims: first of all, it became the perfect place to take materials, as marble or rock. Then, inside its rooms, was created a basilica (Santa Maria degli Angeli), and a museum (Museum of the Terme di Diocleziano). Moreover, the beautiful Church of San Bernardo alle Terme, which means Bath in italian, is the result of hard works on the ancient walls.

What do the church hosts?

Cupola - San Bernardo alle TermeA wonderful reproduction of the Pantheon dome, with its coffered ceiling and its oculus, the hole set in the centre which create a connection between the ground and the sky, the home of the Gods.
Getting into the church of San Bernardo alle Terme means to do a time travel, where we can observe how the model of the Pantheon was so famous that in Rome, after many centuries, wanted to reproduce it.
The relaxing and calm atmosphere which we could breathe here, without the crowd that each day fills the Pantheon, is a wonderful experience.

Sometimes in Rome what could seem normal or without importance can hide something special.
How it’s amazing!

.. before ending this story

Cupola 2 - San Bernardo alle TermeInside the church try to search the tomb of Johan Friedrich Overbeck.
Who was he?
He was an artist lived during the XIX century who found the artistic movement of the “Nazareni”, a sort of group of dandy who loved so much the Renaissance.
For this reason he wanted to depict in their paintings the pure figures and profiles of the Italian art of the XV century, when the R
enaissance was going to bring to the light.
A man who was inspired by the beauty of Rome, as the architect of the Church of San Bernardo alle Terme was inspired by the enormous heritage of the Ancient Rome…

Interno circolare - San Bernardo alle Terme

The wonderful perspective of “Villa della Farnesina”

arts in rome artsinrome master fine art romaVilla della Farnesina was erected at the beginning of the XVI century by [sg_popup id=”12″]Baldassare Peruzzi[/sg_popup], a man and an artist who gave many treasures at Rome.

Inside this wonderful villa, the main and the most gorgeous example of the Renaissance building in the city, Peruzzi managed to create and think something curious and beautiful: two rooms completely covered by frescos. Special frescos… We stay at the second floor of Villa della Farnesina which was commissioned by the rich man Agostino Chigi.  He was a banker, lending much money to everyone, particularly Popes. For this reason his patrimony was so large, quite enormous.


Many noblemen in that period wanted to underline their power building graceful homes, plenty of artistic masterpieces.
In fact, Agostino Chigi decided to call one of the main artist of his period in order to realize his home and representative Villa: the architect was Baldassare Peruzzi, a friend of [sg_popup id=”13″]Raffaello Sanzio[/sg_popup].
Raphael too worked and embellished the villa, but today I wish to talk about to Baldassare Peruzzi, who created something incredible. Going in the first room, named “Salone delle Prospettive”, your look will be totally captured by the frescos of the wall, that haven’t no empty spaces. Everything was covered by colors and, mainly, false perspective.

What is it?

arts in rome artsinrome art master in romeWe have a perspective when the third dimension is set in a surface with just two dimensions. Peruzzi was able to create landscapes and panoramic viewpoints where there is just a wall… Moreover he used false architectural elements, as columns and balaustrades, in order to improve the sense of depth. Usually in that period the ancient art and elements which could remember the history of Rome and Ancient Greek were used to decorate villas, palaces etc. It was due to the incredible love, and sometimes mania, which developped in Rome during the beginning of the XVI century. This colorful room brought our mind in new dimensions, in a false reality which is totally different by the one that we know. But this reality is quite similar, with its ancient buildings and fantastic landscapes, to the ones which the Romans of the Empire searched in their wonderful villas outside the wall of the city centre. In this way we could understand how the Renaissance discovered another time not only the art of Rome, but also its functions.

arts in rome artsinrome master fine art roma

But there is also another room at the secondo floor of Villa della Farnesina, just beyond the first hall. In this case walls are totally covered by frescos depicting historical people and deeds, with Alessandro Magno and his life as main character. The general who conquered quite the entire world with his enomrous army, arriving in India and getting in touch with numerous populations and tribes, was in that period a symbol of powerful. For this reason Baldassare Peruzzi decided to choose him, in order to create a connection with Agostino Chigi. In this way the rich man could be consider himself as a sort of man who could rule the world with his main weapon: money

The Fountain of the Books: how clever is Rome!


Walking through the narrow streets of Rome you will find many little things which make so beautyful and special this great city! One of them is set not far from Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Italian Senate: I’m talking about the Fountain of the Books!

More than one century ago, during the ’20 of the XX century, the Fascism regime decided to provide each single district of Rome with a fountain which could describe the peculiarities of them. The Roman quarters, named “rioni”, were created over the centuries, from the Middle Ages to the end of the XIX century. But they take their origin from the “regiones” of Augustus, formed by the princeps quite two thousand years ago. The Fountain of the Books underlines the main peculiarities of the Sant’Eustachio Rione, which is plenty of historical libraries and not only… Its name takes its origin from Saint Eustachio,

arts in rome
Arts in Rome

who was a Roman Soldier, according to the tradition. Obviously, he was pagan. Sometimes miracles could occur also at the Roman people, and it happened to the young Eustachio. He walked in a forest in order to capture a deer with his bow and arrows. When he was very close to the animal, he saw something incredible: the deer started to talk with him, introducing itself as Jesus. Not only this, because Eustachio admired the animal transforming and taking an human shape. From that time, Eustachio became a real Christian and due to his faith he died in Rome.

imagesThis is the reason why the fountain is provide with this great head of a deer, with its wonderful horns (a similar statue stands just above the final part of the Church of Sant’Eustachio, in the main square of the rione). They are surrounded by many books, from some water gushes flow. That heavy rock tomes symbolizes the numerous libraries in the area and particularly the palace of La Sapienza, the first seat of the University which was born in Rome in the 1300. This is the reason why this graceful fountain leans on the wall of the ancient building which hosted the University (today embellished also by a fantastic church projected by Borromini). Other little curiosity: water symbolizes also the struggle of the study. Do it similar to the sweat? And how much do you sweat after an intese study period?

So, do you want to look at this special monument? A reason for you to walk in Rome…

The “Pulcino della Minerva”: an elephant in the City Centre

Piazza della Minerva a Roma e il Pulcino del BerniniUsually Rome conceals hidden treasures which aren’t so easy to see. But there are also other monuments or little art masterpieces that everyone can look. For example, very close to the Pantheon, the famous ancient Roman temple changed in a Basilica, there’s a tasteful obelisk which surmounts an…elephant!
This is the history of the “Pulcino della Minerva”, that we could translate in English like “Minerva’s chick”.

Where is it?

We stay in Piazza della Minerva, a little square surrounded by a great and graceful Basilica, named Santa Maria della Minerva, a famous hotel and other two palaces.
In order to understand the history of that crazy sculpted group set just in the centre of this square, I’m to explain something about the palace which stands just next to the Basilica.
It was one of the headquartes of the Holy Inquisition, the sacred tribunal of the Christian Church that was born during the XVI century.
The main purpose of the Inquisition was to change and “improve” the mistakes in the faith of the heretic people. Sometimes this institution used to tortured that men and women who didn’t want to change their way to believe in God.
Piazza_della_Minerva_con_il_Pulcino_e_il_Pantheon_2880_banThe palace was erected during the XIII Century for the Dominican order and in the XVI century was chosen like the place in which had to take place the trials against the heretics. Also Galileo Galilei got in it, forswearing what he claimed about the Universe… Moreover, according to the Christian theology, there was an aspect that leads the Inquisition deeds: the Knowledge. So, during the XVII century, when the Pope Innocenzo X decided to restore the square, embellishing Rome and his city centre, he called one of the best artist in that period: Bernini.

The Pope commissioned to the great master of art something which could underline how the Knowledge, mainly in that place, could lead the Church. And Bernini projected this graceful and brilliant sculpted group. The dynamic and wonderful Elephant, with the strong trunk moving by the wind, represents the Mind, while the obelisk symbolizes the Knowledge. The famous Egyptian artifact was brought to light after some excavations made in that area: it represented one of the decorations of the ancient Temple of Iside, one of the goddesses in Egypt, which stood there during the Roman Empire.

Pulcin_della_Minerva_2006_n2_banBernini took his inspiration by an arcane book, very famous in Rome, named “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili”, which translates as “Polifilo’s Dream”. In one of his dreams, Polifilo saw an elephant with an obelisck, claiming: “We need to a strong mind for support the burden of the Knwoledge”. And Bernini managed to change the dream in reality, using marble and rocks.

Bernini was used to thinking about new escamotages for his creations…but we are quite at the end of the history. Ther’s just a question. Why is the name so strange? If we look the statue maybe you could think that it is a bit heavy, mainly the elephant dressed with this caparison that looks like a curtain. Why did Bernini choose it? Because the artist had many troubles with the Pope and his way to understand and live the art. Bernini in fact wanted to insert between the elephant’s paws simply an opens space. He desidered to create a sort of feeling of lightness…but the Pope denied it and Bernini changed his project. The name takes his origin from the word “Porcino”, that means a sort of insult, which develop over the centuries in the modern “Pulcino”.