Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Spolia.  I love the stuff.  Originally the latin term meant war booty or plunder, but in architectural terms it has come to mean the reuse of older building material.  It is everywhere in Rome.  Those mis-matched columns and capitals lining the naves of medieval basilicas came from an array of imperial era buildings.  That fountain basin was once a 2nd century AD sarcophagus.  The marble for the late 17th century fountain of the Acqua Paola on the Janiculum came from the Temple of Minerva that was in the Foro of Nerva.  Often while walking I will see an ionic volute, or a bit of  architrave in white marble peeking out amongst the other bits of rubble in a wall of unknown date.  For me it is myth and mystery made manifest.  How can I not be influenced?

Christopher Pelley "Volutes"  oil/canvas  100cm x120cm  2010

Christopher Pelley  "Ionic Volutes"  oil/canvas  100cm x 100cm  2010

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