Contemporary Rome

During these four weeks in Italy I have been given the opportunity to admire some of the most famous works of art from the Renaissance and Baroque period. In Florence we visited the Uffizi and in Rome we visited the Vatican Museums and the Borghese Gallery. Additionally, Rome has the most exquisite works of art decorating its churches and the city itself. As a result, I have been directly exposed to the works of the masters, such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Bernini. While I do count these artists as my favorites and I feel very lucky to be in this position, I must say that by the fourth week I was craving to leave that 600’s drama behind for something more current. I am a fan of contemporary art and architecture, so I made my way to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea and the MAXXI (Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo). Both museums were a breath of fresh air and are now on the very top of my favorite museums list.

Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

The Galleria is housed in a neoclassical building by the west of Villa Borghese. This summer it is presenting the exhibition Time Is Out Of Joint, where works of art dating from the early 19th century to the current year are presented in a perceived disorder that neglects the traditional chronological organization of artwork in museums. This results in works of different movements and types standing side by side, such as Pietro Galli’s 1838 Giove (Jupiter/Zeus) sculpture, which stands next to Andy Warhol’s 1977 Hammer and Sickle. Personally, I believe the “out of joint” presentation model is more organic, more inviting and more relevant to the very nature of Modern Art than the traditional art museum chronological installation. In the latter, one is submerge into one movement or ideology for entire rooms; with the out of joint’s entropy, every work of art seems to challenge the previous one, or sometimes complement it. It is explosive and more resembling of how art is presented in the outside world. To summarize, the Galleria was not only different to what I had seen in Rome, but to all the museums I have visited before.


The MAXXI is a work of at by itself; the building was designed by the late award-wining architect Zaha Hadid. To celebrate Hadid in the anniversary of her death, the museum has an exhibition of her work on the very top of the building, which she designed to be the most grand. As with the Galleria, the MAXXI has a very interesting and refreshing way to present its pieces. This is in part a result of Hadid’s design; its clean curves and edges seem to smoothly lead you on to places without you really knowing where to go. The architecture part had beautiful models of buildings designs for modern Italy: from train stations in Naples, to ports and bridges in the South. The expositions really carry a taste of young Italy, what it wants and where it’s going. I am thankful that I was able to visit this museum, because it helped me understand the current Italian generation, instead of just getting a peak of their past.


The Drexel in Rome program has officially come to end. It has been a wonderful experience to collaborate in the writing of this blog and to participate in the program as a whole. Thank you!

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