Rome Travel Guide

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Secret Sketches of Pio Pullini

We're fresh from an artistic rush, this one provided by Pio Pullini's lovely and poignant watercolors, now on display (until 3 September) at the Museo di Roma at Palazzo Braschi, between Corso Emanuele II and Piazza Navona. Pullini was born in Ancona in 1887, moved to Rome when he was 19, and the mostra (show) covers the years from 1920-1945, when Pullini provided illustrations for the Tribuna Illustrata and L'Urbe. He also did some paintings, often involving those he was close to, and--a highlight of the show--many "secret" watercolors that record his reactions to Roman life under Fascism and the German occupation (including loading Rome's Jews into trucks for eventual transport to concentration camps). Others treat the liberation of Rome by the allied armies.

Pullini will remind some of Norman Rockwell, but his work is thankfully less technically precise (Rockwell was fanatical about verisimillitude), more perceptive about the human condition, and more willing to grapple with the political realities of life in an age of economic depression and totalitarianism.

I was eager to take some pics in the exhibition but was intimidated by the presence in every room of two video cameras covering every angle. Two of offerings in this post are all from the show's brochure. The third, above left, was sent on by BL, who was apparently less intimidated.

There isn't a word of English in the exhibition, and that's unfortunate; it wouldn't have taken much to translate picture titles from the Italian. But this show is worth seeing anyway, and cheap at twice the price. When we asked the young lady at the desk if there was a sconto (discount) for sopra sessantacinque (over age 65), she asked us where we were from, and we were sure that the answer we gave--New York--would, in revealing that we weren't from the European Union, disqualify us for the discount. Instead, she gave us our tickets and told it was free. You never know!


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