Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baglione: Caravaggio's Mortal Enemy?

Sacred Love Versus Profane Love by Giovanni Baglione (Image taken from the Public Domain)

Most of what is known of Caravaggio's life is based on three biographies written by Giulio Mancini, Giovanni Pietro Bellori and Giovanni Baglione, a rival painter who not only once went as far as to sue Caravaggio but also accused him of hiring assassins to kill him.  As seen in the painting above, Baglione was in every sense influenced by Caravaggio's style.  The Sacred Love Versus the Profane Love depicts an angel breaking up a love affair between Caravaggio (shown with devil ears) and a little boy (representing profane love).

Everything considered, many believe Baglione eventually gave the most objective recollection of Caravaggio's life.  Maybe Baglione was in fact, Caravaggio's greatest frenemy.


Graham-Dixon, Andrew.  (2010).  Caravaggio:  A Life Sacred and Profane.  New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Wikipedia (oh yeah, you better believe it)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In The City

...and since you surely appreciate Joe Walsh and the Eagles as much as I do, I'll throw in this… 

"Ah ha" 

Returning to Roma!

What could better represent this city than Il Colloseo, officially the Flavian Amphitheater?

Cars rush past the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II—first king of a united Italy—at night.

as the sun sets over the Spanish Steps.

The bridge leading to Castel Sant'Angelo also leads to my apartment.  The Popes used Castel Sant'Angelo as a fortress incase anyone tried to mess with them, now it's a museum.

Sunset over St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City was the last thing I saw as I walked back to my apartment every evening.  Had I better sense than to have been walking around Rome taking photographs with my Nokia 5310 camera phone you might have been able to see firsthand how beautiful it was.  Picture the vibrant reds, oranges and clouds.

The phone gave an odd, almost vintage, look to some of the photographs as demonstrated in the pictures of the two fountains below. 

Sea Horse in the park at Villa Borghese.

As sun peaks through clouds, to bathe this rain drenched Vatican City Fountain in light.

"Quoth the Raven, 'nevermore' "

The Fontana del Pantheon, stands directly in front of the Pantheon, another landmark on the way to the heart of the city after Piazza Navona, after the Church of Saint Luigi dei Francesi housing Caravaggio's "The Martyrdom of St. Matthew" in the Contarelli chapel (below).

Also In the Contarelli chapel—Caravaggio's "The Calling of St. Matthew" and "The Inspiration of St. Matthew."

The city is always alive.

and there are a lot of cats.  

Obelisks had a practical value for navigation in the hectic disarray of streets during the Middle Ages, many of them taken from Egypt.

Drinking fountains spatter the streets of the city flowing nonstop.  You are supposed to press your hand against the bottom to plug the water, and it shoots up from a second hole at the curve of the spigot, the idea being that you won't be drinking from the same outlet as stray dogs.

Isola Tiberina is a little island on the Tiber river with a footbridge leading in on each side.  I liked to go there for peace and quiet, take notes and sip on Coca Cola—I was not the only one.  The hospital is located there.

Coke always tasted better in Rome.  I think it's because of less ice—and it compliments a diet heavy in carbohydrates in a different way.

I once liked to believe I introduced the idea of jogging for sport to this city.  I also imagined I was responsible for making Timberland Hiking Boots trendy here.  I have been proved phenomenally wrong on both accounts.   I am told that both of these things that were very popular here in 2010 were also very popular in the 90's, I just don't remember seeing anybody else doing them in 2007.  Nevertheless the largest park in the city, Pamphili Park (above), was my choice spot for jogging.  If someone actually takes so much interest in this blog as to coax me into doing so in the future, I will write an entire article about the time I was almost eaten alive by a pack of stray dogs in Pamphili park—no joke.  The story itself is self explanatory and will be titled "The Time I Was Almost Eaten by Stray Dogs in Pamphili Park."  I was not wearing my 'Timbs' when this happened.

This building is typical of Roman architecture.

Yes!  A Grand Theft Auto: Vice City bus, Disponibile Per PSP 2007.


A river of cobblestone rambles through the city streets at night.

This is the entrance to a private home along the Appian Way, an ancient road leading to Rome.

I walked the Via Appia pretty far one afternoon, all the way to the airport and this guy in a white car drove up beside me and started whistling at me.  I didn't say anything because I didn't want him to know I was a foreigner.  He wouldn't stop so I kept walking.  He understood the universal language of the middle finger and drove away.  Then he came back.  Then he kept a distance.  He was always somewhere in front or behind me for a couple hours as I walked back.  When he wasn't looking I picked up a big rock and hid it in my coat.  Eventually I ran into the forest and hid in a ditch for a while.  He got out of the car and looked for me but couldn't find me so he left.  I was prepared to kill him with the rock.  It was a rush, afterwards I ate a gelati and had a nice glass of wine at the apartment and got on with writing "Bar Fight."

The PalaLottomatica sports arena seemingly rises from the water at EUR.  EUR is a modern business center and residential suburb south of Rome famous for the (what felt to me as portentous) Fascist architecture which PalaLottomatica is not an example of.  It's an overwhelming place to be lost and,

Someone tried to kill me there once too.

A beautiful woman in high heels and a fancy dress dunks her right leg into the Trevi fountain as the police officers that guard the fountain round' the clock jump out of their vehicle.  The woman's friend, another woman in a fancy dress, pulls her foot out of the fountain as the police step back into the car after glaring disapproval.  Moments later the woman in a fancy dress fends off her friend and jumps into the fountain.  Dripping wet she is released from the back of the police car after a short time.  Near 4:00 a.m. the night before I left Rome there was plenty of excitement observed by the half dozen or so people at the fountain usually surrounded by an impenetrable crowd of tourists by day.  This is the last thing I saw before I left.

Fitting with the recurring Cara-Blog-gio theme—a replica of Augustus at Prima Porta at nightfall.

Most importantly everything written in this blog is true.  Most of these photographs were based on my experiences in Rome during 2010, some of them from 2007.

all of these photographs were taken by Alan Michael.
Copyright 2012 Alan Michael

The word "portentous" is probably the coolest word I have used in this blog entry.  I have discovered it recently and its definition is, "of or like a portent."

Friday, May 4, 2012

...If You Only Had a Brain!?!

Tomorrow my sister is going to Kansas so I hid these little red slippers in the bottom of her suitcase so she can come back.

Writer's Block is Real

The thermometer in the car read 101 degrees before I got here.  The sun shines directly in my face.  I've been staring at this blank piece of paper and it's so hot.  For months now I've been trying to write a new proposal (or query) for Bar Fight and I just can't do it.  A one page letter telling what the novel is about, what it is like, who wants to read it and why?  Why am I qualified to write it (am I qualified to do anything?  Am I capable?)  Why do I do this?  One page.  As I sit in a fold up chair in the middle of a blank field at South Park, in the real world, back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, back in 2012, I can't do it.  I've tried procrastinating.  I've planned it all out, to shift my focus elsewhere, but I just cant do it, I can't find the spark.  What does it mean?  What is this about?  The hook?  It's been three years since I finished now, two since I finished Bar Fight.  Did I tell you that the entire timeline of Bar Fight is out of order.  So is the timeline of my life.  It's fragmented.  Fragmented… Why did I need that sentence? My sunglasses are tangled in my hair.  This cloud passes in front of the sun, it's getting cooler.  Where am I?  I wrote another one months ago, it was good, I told myself I had to write two good ones before I sent one out.  My mind distracts itself, this heat, why two?  That's the plan.  I convince myself the first one is risky, that's procrastination.  It's so hot.  Why do I do this?  It's one page, do I sleep tonight or will I sweat, stare at the ceiling?  Is time lost wasted or redeemable?  What am I doing?

How did I lose myself to Bar Fight?

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