THE TERRACE ROOM
The leitmotif of this room is Rome. Three female artists approach in different ways the theme of a city whose destiny has often entwined grandeur and corruption. Emblematic from this point of view is the work of Elena Monzo, on the right. With a style that manages to be both delicate and hard-hitting, she elaborates the symbol of the Eternal City – the she-wolf. Below the shewolf, we do not find the celebrated twins, but three naked female figures, suggesting the image of a new Babylon, accentuated by a vestal virgin, a neo-Salome, who offers her services, reclining in a niche. Marica Fasoli’s work, on the other hand, evokes a famous episode, bordering on the incredible, that took place when Papal power In Rome was at its apex. It is a present that Manuel I, King of Portugal, gave to Leo X in 1514, an extraordinary albino elephant called Hanno. When the king’s “present” passed through the streets in a procession, it was a real triumph. In 1962, during works in the Giardini del Belvedere, some workers discovered the remains of a great jaw and an enormous fang. Only at the end of the 1980s did the historian Silvio Bedini succeed in reconstructing the story and linking these remains to the elephant Hanno, who did not last long In Rome and died in 1516. The elephant, of which the Pope is said to have been very fond, became a symbol for the degeneration of papal power, all too ready to yield to the flattery of European potentates. A symbol, too, of the deep corruption that aroused the ire of the pro-Lutheran circles. The publication of the Theses and the protestant schism were just round the corner. Placed higher up, and deliberately kept separate, as if watching and interrogating a Rome torn between two earthly powers, imperial and papal, is the work by Adele Ceraudo. This is a photograph – taken by Matteo Basilé – in which the artist poses on the cross. Here, too, is a clear reference to the episode of corruption that brought about the crucifixion of Jesus.