Book: Arte Metro Roma: Il Museo Underground di Roma – I Grandi Mosaici delle Stazione della Metropolitana, ed. Laboratori Incontri d’Arte
Genre: Art book – a guide to the modern mosaics found at the stations of the Rome Underground (Metro)
Where I got it: Borrowed from the local library
Length: 215 pages
Briefly, it’s a coffee-table style book full of gorgeous photos and other information about the 45 major and 46 minor wall mosaics which were installed at various stations of the Rome Metro between 1996 and 2000.
Comments: This is a lovely book. It’s made up of three main sections. First there is general information about the project: the decision to install these mosaics, how it came about, who sponsored it, how the artists were chosen, how the mosaics were produced, etc. Most of this is in the form of speeches which were delivered by various people at the unveiling ceremonies of the mosaics. These speeches / essays are printed in both Italian and English.
The second, central section consists of photographs, one of each of the 45 major mosaics. They are excellent. These mosaics are huge, and difficult to photograph. Many are flat rectangles, but some follow the curve of a wall or even turn a sharp angle. It seems that the photographer had special access to the stations because there are no people in any of the shots. The lighting is also very good. The mosaics are in a variety of styles, but form a definite series through the materials used (glass tesserae) and the similarity of finishing.
At the Numidio Quadrato station on Linea A, in a suburb in the south of the city, 46 pillars on the station platforms are covered in mosaics, each one by a “young” artist. The result is an amazing display of colour and design. The book includes four photos of the platforms, and they spurred me to go and see this station for myself.
The third section of the book provides a brief biography, again in Italian and in English, of each of the 45 major artists, and the name of each of the 46 young artists together with a small photo of the pillar mosaic which is theirs. It is gratifying to see that the proportion of women is considerably higher among the young artists (about half) than among the more established artists of an older generation (only 3 women out of the total of 45).
If anything is lacking from this book, it is a commentary on what each of the mosaics individually might signify. Some are not so easy to interpret. But the book certainly has prompted me to pay more attention to them in future.
Here is a photo (my own, not from the book reviewed here) of one of my favourite mosaics, by Luigi Veronesi; it is at Stazione Anagnina, the southernmost station on Linea A:
Challenges: Full House Challenge, for the Category “From the Local Library”; I Love Library Books Challenge; Non-Fiction challenge.