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Of man and machine

29 Jun
29 June 2016. Finding statues from the Roman Imperial Era is easier than finding a seat on the bus in Rome. Every museum is loaded with the statues of this era (and earlier), all by unknown artists, mostly slaves who were primarily Greek. Many of these statues are beautiful marble copies of Greek bronzes and they are EVERYWHERE. They are so common that unless you are an art historian, sooner or later you just pass them by. Statues with broken noses, exposed breasts, and missing arms and penises become quite ordinary when you see them everywhere. Until you go to Centrale MontemartiniHere the artwork is juxtaposed (I love using that word) with the machinery that once was used to produce power.
Machine works surrounded by ancient works of art.

Machine works surrounded by ancient works of art.

 
Dionysus, 4th century B.C. I love the juxtapositioning with the industrial site.

Dionysus, 4th century B.C. I love the juxtapositioning with the industrial site.

 
Huge resconstructed mosaic floor at Centrale Montemartini.

Huge reconstructed mosaic floor at Centrale Montemartini.

Centrale Montemartini was the first power plant to produce electricity for Rome, starting in the early 20th century, on the banks of the Tiber. A 15-minute walk from Stazione Ostiense brings you to this lightly-visited corner of Rome. The machinery has not been removed: rather it provides a startling backdrop for the Roman Imperial Era statues that are a part of the vast collection of the Capitoline Museum. In fact, this museum started as a temporary home for works the Capitoline could not accommodate. 

 

Head of a colossus, female. from 101 B.C....

Head of a colossus, female. from 101 B.C….

...and her foot. Ric demonstrates proportion.

…and her foot. Ric demonstrates proportion.

Whether you favor twentieth-century machinery, classical marble statuary, or a peaceful location, Central Montemartini has something for you. After a visit, saunter on over to Eataly for a nice lunch and some shopping before hopping the Metro, tram, or bus back to the throngs of tourists in the Centro Storico.
Fabulous mosaic from Anzio, 1st century B.C.

Fabulous mosaic from Anzio, 1st century B.C.

 
Missing body parts...perhaps the heads and arms are in a different museum. Franco Tosi was the machinery manufacturer. Still in business.

Missing body parts…perhaps the heads and arms are in a different museum. Franco Tosi was the machinery manufacturer. Still in business.

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9 Responses to “Of man and machine”

  1. Chloe Erkenbrecher June 30, 2016 at 08:54 #

    What a fascinating place. Thank you for sharing it.

    Like

  2. ckleonard June 29, 2016 at 19:07 #

    Totally fascinating and interesting presentation. I love it.

    Like

  3. gayleseely June 29, 2016 at 19:04 #

    What a unique idea. I like both the word juxtaposition AND the concept behind it.
    I just finished reading Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, which was a GREAT read, and she visited Rome in the 1st century BC, so I think she would have looked upon some of these guys. I doubt she made it over to Anzio, alas, because that mosaic is a treasure. Wait, they are ALL treasures. The mosaic really sings however, a song across the years.
    Thanks! Gayle

    Like

    • gooddayrome June 30, 2016 at 03:45 #

      I have heard of that book but not gotten around to it. Thanks for the recommendation. The mosaics really grab me, too!

      Like

  4. Marcia June 29, 2016 at 18:05 #

    What a unique concept with the statutes done laboriously by hand with the machines , also by man, but then such a different era. I wouldn’t have thought to put the two together… Oh wait! That’s why I’m not an artist! Haha

    Can’t wait to see this Eataly you mention so often. ☀️

    Like

  5. Nigel June 29, 2016 at 12:05 #

    The thingamajig looked more like a giant sewing machine in the twitter photo; I was envisioning somebody making giant togas for giant statues….

    Like

    • gooddayrome June 29, 2016 at 12:35 #

      That’s funny! It’s a fascinating place. Put it on you never-ending list.

      Like

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