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August 19, 2016 | Rome | Italy
Why Would Romans Think All Sculptures Now Look Unfinished?

What would an ancient Roman say about architecture and sculptures of today? Probably something along those lines... "They say all change is good. Of course I do appreciate when a civilization develops and I think the world should be going forward. Back in my times, I gladly welcomed aqueducts to our region and I’ve taken a liking to town baths, as well as to the new social system – finally I had a chance for social advancement. I also understand cultural changes and technological advances. But what is happening in Italy nowadays, with the presumed successors of ancient Rome, is beyond outrageous!

Ever since the Romans moved to Catholicism, they stopped respecting the traditions. Just look at this grand temple, St. Peter’s Basilica. Not only did they build it on the remains of the Circus of our Nero, but also stripped the rest of Rome from marble and other valuable materials. Just look closely at the buildings in the city from my times. It’s easy to spot holes in façades. This is where beautiful sculptures and marble decoractions used to be mounted.

In turn, the sculptures which survived are nothing like the ones I remember from my youth. Those were painted with valuable dyes, and these? They are discolored and lackluster… The painted sculptures are not only prettier, but also more valuable! Dyes used to cost a pretty penny. I should know, for I was one of the first members of the dyers’ guild, Collegium tinctorum, founded by the great king Numa Pompilius. Among many other, we kept the secrets on how to produce indigo blue, the color favored by the prostitutes. It was made out of leafs of Indigofera tinctoria plant. We were also producing Tyrian purple, which used to be obtained from the slime of murex snails, the ones with beautiful shells. Because of its price, purple was loved by the senators. Other dyes we used to make included red substances made out of henna and clay, yellow from lead and arsenic and other valuable pigments which we used to bind with urine.

Now hardly any of the remaining sculptures from my ancient times remained coloured with valuable layers. But regardless of that, the shameless merchants and museum-keepers sell those deficient works of art for nice sums and then display them. Well, as Vespasian used to say, pecunia non olet (money doesn't stink)." I understand the rage of the ancient Roman, but the truth is that the paint, in contrast to marble or granite, gets distroyed with time and that's why it didn't survive until our times. What we now see as the ultimate beauty of ancient sculptures, with their snow-white colours and marble, in the ancient Rome times would be considered as a flub. 

Today, classic Roman and Greek sculptures are dispersed around museums all over the world. I would love to help you see the most remarkable examples of these pieces of art in Italy, Greece, France, the UK and Germany.

Ready to go there? Contact me

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February 16, 2017

This is a story based on what actually happened. Young German, Manfred, could not make peace with the reality he got to live in. A few years ago, soldiers created an enormous wall in Berlin, separating his home city into two parts. The sight of this giant concrete wall, surrounded by barbed wire, touched his heartstrings every time he smoke a cigarette in the window of his flat on Bernauer Strasse. But now, everything was ready for him to change his fate.

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Tips & Curiosites
February 14, 2017

If a maritime catastrophe expert was asked about an example of one of the most interesting stories, he would probably mention the case of Vasa. In 1961, this very warship was taken out of the sea to be examined by scientists. It is known for being the most expensive and the most decorated ship in the 17th century’s Sweden. The ship that, after sailing 1,300 metres, sunk in the harbour of Stockholm. This embarrassing distance unfortunately did not live up to the expectations people had of Vasa, which was supposed to outshine all the military units on the Baltic Sea at that time.

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