Archive for March, 2010

Ten Days in Sicily for AAR Fellows, with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens

March 27, 2010

From the Doric temple at Segesta

Mi po’ mustrari na carta unna mi trovu? Well, fortunately on the March 2010 American Academy trip to Sicily no one ever had to try that dialect phrase (“can you show me on the map where I am?”). And that despite the rigors of an ambitious ten-day trek to some of the most stimulating cities, towns and sites of both the western and eastern portions of the island. The weather was brilliant, the wildflowers were in full bloom, and the food rarely disappointed.

What gave massive added value was the fact that the AAR teamed up with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens for the expedition. American School Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Classical Studies Margaret M. Miles (FAAR’88, RAAR’00)—whose primary areas of expertise include ancient Sicily and South Italy—led the trip with AAR Mellon Professor Corey Brennan (FAAR’88). The combined Rome and Athens group numbered twenty-two in all, including Olga Palagia, Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Athens; AAR Resident Ann Vasaly (FAAR’83 and former Acting Mellon Professor), Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University, with her husband Richard A. Young; and six current Fellows of the AAR. In the great ASCSA tradition, all members of the group offered at least one on-site report. (more…)


Tracing the AAR’s First Twenty Years (Part I): The Villa Aurora

March 17, 2010

Portrait view of entrance to Villa Aurora. Source: AAR Fototeca

Visiting Scholar Nancy Austin was at the AAR in February 2010 researching the material traces of the original American Academy in Rome during its first twenty years, from 1894-1914. Her focus was on the physical situation of the Academy before its 1911 merger with the American School of Classical Studies in Rome was fully realized by a move three years later to joint quarters on the Janiculum. Combining historic material from the Academy’s Photo Archive (Fototeca) and Library, contemporary photography, and Google and Bing satellite maps, this project will culminate in a virtual tour. Highlights of this work in progress will be posted here first, and feedback is encouraged. Here is Nancy’s posting as she prepared to return home to Rhode Island…

“For a dozen years, from 1895 to 1907, the American Academy in Rome rented the Villa Aurora from Principe Don Rodolfo Boncompagni-Ludovisi, the 7th Prince of Piombino. The location on Via Lombardia was considered ideal, especially because of the proximity to the Villa Medici and the French Academy.  Today, the Villa Aurora is a designated Italian national treasure and home to a rare ceiling painting by Caravaggio in the original alchemy workshop.  It is possible to arrange a group tour on Fridays.” (more…)

On 10 March, AAR Hosts 7th “Lazio e Sabina” Archaeological Conference

March 10, 2010

On Wednesday 10 March the American Academy in Rome hosted the 7th edition of the conference “Lazio e Sabina”. This is
 part of a major three day event presented by the Soprintendenza per i
 Beni Archeologici del Lazio at the École
 Française de Rome (Tuesday 9 March), the AAR, and the Istituto Olandese a Roma (Thursday 11 March).

 For a full program for the conference, see here. More than 120 members of the archaeological community heard each of the 23 papers in the marathon all-day event at the American Academy.

Presiding at the AAR for
 the morning session (Colli Albani e area Tuscolana) was Eugenio La Rocca (Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”), 
and for the afternoon (Area costiera e isole) Mario Torelli (Università degli Studi di Perugia).

 Of particular interest to members of the AAR was a presentation by Anna 
Gallone of the Gabii Project on current University of Michigan excavations at the 
site of Gabii (near Palestrina), directed by Michigan’s Nicola Terrenato, with the patrocinio of the American Academy. For a description of this important new dig (with
 video) see here. (more…)

At the American Academy in Rome, Painter Stephen Westfall’s ‘Pavimentazione sul Muro’ Show Runs 12 March-23 April 2010

March 5, 2010

Stephen Westfall in his AAR studio

On Friday 12 March 2010 (6-8 PM) the American Academy in Rome will see the opening of a new solo show “Pavimentazione sul Muro” by noted geometric abstract painter Stephen Westfall. Westfall is currently the Jules Guerin/John Armstrong Chaloner Rome Prize Fellow in Visual Arts at the American Academy. He came to the Academy as Assistant Professor in the Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and Painting Co-chair at the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College. Westfall’s show will be on exhibit at the AAR through Friday 23 April.

Stephen Westfall has been exploring and reacting to the intricate designs of the medieval cosmatesque floors that decorate many Roman churches and which make extensive use of triangles of colored marble. He has also been deeply impressed by the muscular geometries of ancient Roman mosaics and Baroque marble floors, Modernist Italian graphic design, and the distinctive lines and grids of Rationalist architecture. (more…)

At the AAR, Marking the Rome Sustainable Food Project’s 3rd Anniversary

March 3, 2010

Friday 26 February 2010 was indeed a day to celebrate—for it marked the third anniversary of the American Academy’s Rome Sustainable Food Project. The endeavor, under the direction of Executive Chef Mona Talbott, has thoroughly rethought the kitchen and dining experience of the American Academy in Rome. It seems the RSFP almost instantly achieved its aim to create a lively (and delicious) “collaborative dining program that nourishes scholarship and conviviality”. And perhaps most importantly, the Rome Sustainable Food Project properly can be viewed as “a replicable model for sustainable dining in an institution.”

In its three years the Rome Sustainable Food Project already has attracted a great deal of attention in print, ranging from The New York Times to countless individual blogs. For a description of the RSFP as it stood a year ago, see this weblog’s account here, or better yet, for current news, join the RSFP’s own Facebook group. For an elegantly written and richly detailed continuous appreciation of the dining experience at the Academy and elsewhere in Rome, it is hard to beat The Roving Locavore, the weblog of AAR Fellow Traveler Amy Campion. And above find the latest contribution to the tributes to the RSFP, a video podcast by AAR Arts and Humanities Intern Diana Mellon, photodocumenting a pizza bianca master class at Antico Forno Roscioli, a breadmaker for the Rome Sustainable Food Project. (more…)