At the Borghese Gallery a couple of the Caravaggios are at a show of Dürer in Italy at the Scuderie del Quirinale. It was a strange feeling to think, "Oh, I can check that out next week.
Looking at C's David With the Head of Goliath I couldn't help but think that Caravaggio has seen real decapitated heads the way he captured the open eyes and slack jaw that becomes an animated head when removed from it's body. It isn't hard to imagine, as the villa I'm standing in is a short stroll from the Piazza del Popolo where public executions used to be held. The model holding a fistful of Goliath's hair reminded me of the video circulated on the internet of the kidnapped American being decapitated in Iraq. One could take the analogy one step further, and see America as the Goliath, in battle with the less well equipped young men of Iraq.
In Francis Bacon fashion, I move from art and decapitated heads to the art of giving head at the EMC Sauna. Each bathhouse has its own learning curve: finding out one's European shoe size, paying in another language, and then finding the room full of lockers. There I find two towels, one long and narrow and one like a bath sheet. Which to wear? Having seen the smaller size at other clubs, I wrap it around my hips; it goes around me almost twice, making me look like the Passion of Christ, sans stigmata.
Later I wander around and see others wrapped in the larger towel that drapes to the ankles, an homage to the Venus de Milo with well-muscled arms.
Thinking about the art I've seen here in Rome, there seems to be a gradual return to painting mythological subjects. The Middle Ages seem to be about religious painting, with a return to the subjects of Antiquity in the Late Medieval and more so in the High Renaissance. I've heard other explanations for this: a resurgence in interest in the ideas of the Greeks. But really, Leda and the Swan seems to be a thin excuse to chisel a block of Carrera into a naked lady.
Having toured a few museums that were private collections hung salon style in great and gaudy villas, I wonder how much a return to subjects of Antiquity was a matter of economics. If one is painting in the Late Renaissance and selling work to patrons whose homes are chock-a-block full of Madonna and Childs, your incentive is strong to churn out images they don't already own.