15 contemporary women artists explore the theme of Vanitas in Rome.
17 March-8 April. An exhibition featuring the contemporary works of 15 women artists explores the topic of Vanitas and offers viewers a chance to explore the extraordinary archaeological complex of the Case Romane del Celio at Clivo di Scauro, on the Coelian hill between the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum.
The exhibit is a project of the cultural organisation, “xcorsi d’arte,” founded by Kristien De Neve, professor of Fine Arts at the American University of Rome. The organisation offers weekly lessons for all ages and levels in the visual arts. “My students have been working for a year on this project and my goal was to introduce them to site-specific artwork and installations,” noted De Neve who curated the show.
Vanitas, Latin for “vanity,” is a genre of still-life painting, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, which contains collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly achievements and pleasures.
In choosing the theme, the exhibition space itself was a fundamental element, said De Neve. The title of the exhibit Vanitas Vanitatum et Omnia Vanitas is Latin for “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” and is taken from a book of Catholic wisdom, alluding to the historical significance of the setting.
The multi-layered archeological site (the burial place of the martyred saints with frescoed walls and early Christian altars) invites visitors to reflect on the passage of time and inspired the artists to express their personal statements on our fragile human existence.
Their contemporary paintings are displayed in the ancient rooms which extend below the Basilica of Saints John and Paul. For more exhibition details see the digital catalogue in Italianm with photos of the artworks displayed in the ancient rooms, while for artworks by Kristien De Neve see website.
Located a short walk from Metro B Circo Massimo, the Casa Romane complex is open daily (except Tuesday and Wednesday) from 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.00. Price €8, free for children under age 12.
Cover image by Marina Mamiam