If you have toured on foot or by car along the Tiber (one of Rome’s most travelled and congested routes) you may have caught sight of a large simple and linear white structure, which houses an impressive Roman altar. Have you noticed it? This is the Ara Pacis Museum, constructed in 2006 and designed by an American architect, Richard Meier. It is made of glass, steel and travertine and it houses the Ara Pacis itself.
The Ara Pacis is an altar dedicated by Emperor Augustus in 9 BC to the peace and prosperity achieved during the Augustan age and built in the area of Campo Marzio. Over time the level of the area rose so much that it ended by submerging the great Augustan altar, which began to re-surface only during some excavations that began in late 1500 and were completed much later, in the early 1900. It combines the Hellenistic, Roman and classical art and presents a series of complex representations very interesting to observe close up.
For some years the museum has also periodically hosted events and exhibitions of art, fashion and photography, all of great importance. Currently, if you should choose to take a walk there in your one of your discovery of Rome, you may also decide to see the exhibition on the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, which has arrived directly from the Centre Pompidou in Paris and will last until January 25th, 2015.
You can immerge yourself in the world of one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, a remarkable traveller who with his work bears witness in a profound and poetic way to times and historical moments of great importance, such as the cold war, surrealism, the Spanish civil war and the second world war. You will be able to access his particular way of looking on the reality that surrounds him and seize the apparently trivial, yet truly significant moments. On display are photographs, drawings, films and documents that will allow you to fully appreciate this great photographer thanks to an exhibition designed in a context of great interest and charm, certainly worth exploring during your study trip to Rome.
After leaving the exhibition you will most probably want to pick up your camera and go around taking pictures to capture people and moments of your Roman stay. Have you noticed, among other things, the marvellous light of the Roman autumn? It certainly would not have escaped Cartier-Bresson, but for him, even the inevitable days of rain had a great lure!