What's On in Rome Now | 10 Unmissable Events this Winter

Photo of Stephanie Carwin
9 February 2017

This winter’s offerings in Rome are a reminder not only of the innumerable contributions to the world of culture that originated in or drew inspiration from the Italian capital– from Caravaggio and Tosca to the Italian avant-garde – but that today’s Italian and international artists also hold a pertinent place in the fabric of the Eternal City.

© Stephanie Carwin

Da Guercino a Caravaggio: Sir Denis Mahon and Italian Art of the XVII Century | Palazzo Barberini

26 September 2014 to 8 February 2015

Sir Denis Mahon – one of the preeminent art collectors and museum philanthropists of the 20th century – was a great lover of Italian art and the exhibition Da Guercino a Caravaggio features some of the great masterpieces of seventeenth century Italian baroque painting, both from his own collection and from Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. Mahon helped to shift opinion on what had long been considered a lesser period of Italian art, focusing in particular on the Roman artist Caravaggio, whose dramatic chiaroscuro paintings are well represented.

Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13, Rome, Italy, +39 06 481 4591

Caravaggio, Self-Portrait as Bacchus (detail), 1593-1594

Eddie Peake | Galleria Lorcan O’Neill

January 2015 – March 2015

One of the most established galleries for contemporary art in Rome, Galleria Lorcan O’Neill recently moved into a beautiful new headquarters in the converted 17th-century stables of the Palazzo Santacroce Abbey in the centre of the city. This winter, the eponymous Irish gallerist will present the work of young British artist-provocateur Eddie Peake, who spent time in the Italian capital as a scholar at the British School at Rome from 2008 to 2009. Peake works in a wide variety of mediums, often using performance and music to challenge viewers’ notions of sexuality, voyeurism, and gender, subject matters not always so freely discussed in a country like Italy, which has seen censorship of sexually delicate themes.

Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Vicolo Dei Catinari, 3, Rome, Italy +39 06 6889 2980

© Eddie Peake | In Bocca Al Lupo, 2014, Galleria Lorcan O’Neill

Ludovico Einaudi | Auditorium Parco della Musica

17 December 2014

Performing at the large arts complex Auditorium Parco della Musica, which was designed by Renzo Piano and opened in 2002, Ludovico Einaudi is the son of renowned publisher Giulio Einaudi – who worked with authors like Italo Calvino and Primo Levi – as well as the grandson of a former President of Italy. However, the young Ludovico has made his mark in the world of music, drawn to the piano from an early age and now established as one of the most prominent pianists and composers of his generation. While classically trained, having been a student of composer Luciano Berio, Einaudi works with a number of genres and has created his own particular style of classically-inflected contemporary music.

Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Viale Pietro De Coubertin 30, Rome, Italy, +39 0680 2411

Hans Memling, Triptych of Earthly Vanity, c. 1485

Memling. Flemish Renaissance | Scuderie del Quirinale

11 October 2014 – 18 January 2015

While Hans Memling was from Bruges, his portraits showing sitters against a landscape background were extremely popular in Italy and are reported to have influenced the following generation of Italian painters in the early sixteenth century, perhaps even Leonardo da Vinci. Memling. Flemish Renaissance is the first monographic exhibition in Italy dedicated to this pupil of Rogier van der Weyden, thoroughly tracing his trajectory as an artist, including not only a large gathering of his portraits from museums across the world, but also his masterpiece religious diptychs and triptychs, for which some panels are reunited in this exhibition for the first time.

Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio 16, Rome, Italy +39 06 3996 7500

Mazdak Ayari, L’appareil photo en famille, 2001-2013, Courtesy of the artist
Behdjat Sadr, Untitled (1974), Private collection, | © Galerie Frédéric Lacroix

The Nutcracker | Teatro dell’Opera

18 December 2014 – 4 January 2015

The two-act ballet by Tchaikovsky, set on Christmas Eve, was first performed in St. Petersburg in 1892 and remains one of the composer’s most popular scores, as well as the most-performed holiday ballet in the world. The beautiful Teatro Costanzi in Rome seems an ideal venue in which to get into the holiday spirit with a performance of The Nutcracker, enjoying celebrated pieces like ‘The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.’ The current production is choreographed by Amedeo Amodio and will be performed by the orchestra and ballet company of the Teatro dell’Opera.

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, 7 Piazza Beniamino Gigli, Rome, Italy + 39 06 481 601

Gateway Music Festivals & Tours

Rome New Year’s Day Parade

1 January 2015

While the most important winter event in Rome for Catholics is surely midnight mass, given by the Pope on Christmas Eve at St. Peter’s Basilica, the New Year’s Parade offers a less religious alternative in which to ring in the holiday season, even if it does finish at St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis will give the traditional New Year’s address and blessing. The parade includes primarily North American marching bands as well as displays of historical pageantry, proceeding along the wide Via della Conciliazione to St. Peter’s Square where, after the blessing, the bands perform for the crowds gathered in the square.

Via della Conciliazione, Rome, Italy

Secession and Avant-Garde | The National Gallery of Modern Art

31 October 2014 – 15 February 2015

Focused on one of the most spirited movements in Italian art history in the ten years leading up to World War I, Secession and Avant-Garde traces the Italian participation in the European artistic rebellion – ‘Secession’ – which signified a deliberate decision to break with the past and with the conservative, exclusionary art models in existence. In Rome in 1905, Gino Severini and Umberto Boccioni organized the Exhibition of Refused Artists, later becoming two of the leading artists of the Italian Futurist movement, initiated by the publishing of Filippo Marinetti’s notorious ‘Futurist Manifesto’ in 1909. While Marinetti’s branch of the movement was later discredited due to its association with Fascism, this exhibition seeks to focus on the energetic early period when these Italian artists created dynamic artworks harnessing the newfound energy of modern, urban, industrial society.

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Viale delle Belle Arti, 131, Rome, Italy +39 06 322981

Tosca | Teatro dell’Opera

1-12 March 2015

Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca premiered in the winter of 1900 at this very theatre, Teatro Costanzi, so there seems no better place in which to experience the three-act tragedy, especially because this 2015 production will feature a new staging based on the sketches of the first performance in 1900. The action of the opera is also set in Rome, in three specific locations that are still in existence today – the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, the ornate Palazzo Farnese and the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo on the Tiber – so once the curtain has fallen, you can revisit the locales in person.

Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, 7 Piazza Beniamino Gigli, Rome, Italy + 39 06 481 601

Unedited History. Iran 1960 – 2014 | MAXXI

11 December 2014 – 29 March 2015

Opening in December at the Zaha Hadid-designed MAXXI (Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo), Unedited History. Iran 1960 – 2014 is a joint production with the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, organized by internationally renowned curator Catherine David, along with Odile Burluraux, Morad Montazami, Narmine Sadeg, and Vali Mahlouji. The choice of the word ‘unedited’ in the title signifies the deliberate curatorial approach – deciding not to form a unified history of contemporary Iranian art but instead allowing the unresolved elements of a complex historical situation to sit side by side, forming a multidimensional mosaic of diversity. The exhibition will feature 200 works by more than 20 Iranian artists spanning three generations, most of which have not been seen in Italy before now.

MAXXI, Via Guido Reni 4A, Rome, Italy +39 06 320 1954

Vangi. Works 1994-2014 | MACRO Testaccio

19 October 2014 – 18 January 2015

Winner of the 2002 Praemium Imperiale prize for sculpture, Giuliano Vangi is considered one of Italy’s most prominent contemporary sculptors. Vangi. Works 1994-2014 is Vangi’s first monographic exhibition in Rome for many years, focusing on his last ten years of production, primarily large sculptural works in a variety of materials – bronze, marble, wood. Instead of presenting more traditional, aesthetically beautiful statuesque symbols of eternity, Vangi’s creations instead confront difficult contemporary problems inherent to humanity such as solitude and violence. Also worth a visit while at the Testaccio location of MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma) is the immense climbable bamboo installation Big Bambù, created by American artists Mike and Doug Starn.

MACRO Testaccio, Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4, Rome, Italy +39 06 6710 70400

By Stephanie Carwin

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