Michael jetted back to the US this past weekend to surprise his eldest daughter, Lauren, at her graduation from medical school. (Congratulations again, Dr. Lauren Tobin Thompson!) I took the opportunity being alone to hang out with some of my women friends in Rome. At our party a few weeks ago, a guest had invited us to an art opening that she was curating at a gallery on Via Margutta. So I asked our friend Teresa to join me, and gallery hopping we went!
Via Margutta is a lovely, small, leafy street/alleyway in the Centro Storico of Rome off of via Baubino, a short walk from the Metro station at Piazza di Spanga (the Spanish Steps). On my way to meet Teresa, I ran into another friend, Claudia, who was also on her way to the opening. We soon arrived and met up with Teresa and since the gallery was the size of a large postage stamp, it didn’t take long to view the oversized photographs of fountain spray. You actually didn’t even have to go into the gallery to view the photographs. It was very hot inside, so we got a drink and hung out in the street along with most of the other patrons. Next to the gallery, I noticed these very interesting looking men who were busy posting their own art on the closed garage door next to the art gallery. As we looked closer, we noticed that they were twins. My interest was picqued more by them than the fountain spray, so Teresa and I wandered over to look at their art.
Their paintings were mostly of primitive horses along with one or two of fish, painted onto cardboard that seemed to be cut from boxes. The horses were similar in shape, but each was painted with unique colors and designs. They had been attached to the garage door with masking tape and there was a paper shopping bag propped up next to the door with more paintings inside. We tried in our limited Italian to speak with the brothers, Maurizio and Tonino, and were able to get that they were selling their paintings for 10€ each, with a few costing as much as 20€. We had to have one! After picking out our favorites, they signed them each on the back:
Maurizio e Tonino
I Gemelli Dal Viso Malin ComiCo (the twins with the Melancholy Faces)
Attori e Artisti (Actors and Artists)
We couldn’t figure out exactly what their affilitation was with Federico Fellini, the famous Italian movie director. Had he lived on Via Margutta? Were The Twins with the Melancholy Faces in Mr. Fellini’s movies? Teresa later sent me a website for researching movies, but I haven’t been able to find the twins. We both agreed they had good business skills in setting up their work next to an advertised show in a gallery and we were delighted with our art purchases.
Figuring it was time to move on, we kissed Claudia and another friend Carmelo goodbye (I love the custom of kissing on both cheeks when saying hello and goodbye), and meandered into a few other galleries that were having openings on the street. We admired the work at Artotheque De Rome of Micaela Legnaioli. Her husband explained they had been to the desert in California last year and the trip served as inspiration. We particularly liked her work of a prickly pear cactus that was made from green plastic water bottles. (The photos of her work and the street scene on Via Margutta are from the art gallery’s Facebook page).
Our final stop before heading to a lovely dinner outside at Coso Wine and Restaurant by the Italian parliament building, was at Area Contesa, a “temporary” gallery where we met the artist Sergio Eccomi. He greeted us warmly, offered us wine, took our photos, and gave us parting gifts of trees he had painted with plastic paint on copy paper. Bellissimo!