Five Great Places to See Modern Art in Rome
11 July 2016
As the former seat of the Roman Empire, Rome is one of the most historic cities in the world. But there’s more to this city than ancient culture and crumbling ruins. As the capital modernises, an air of change blows through the city, influencing everything from architecture and art to dining and leisure. The art scene, in particular, has welcomed a wealth of contemporary offerings, from internationally acclaimed museums like MAXXI to collective art hubs and creative spaces. On your next visit, make time to see these five great places for modern art in Rome.
When MAXXI (the National Museum of 21st Century Arts), opened in 2010 it was a revolution for modern art in Rome. As well as being Italy’s first national institute dedicated to contemporary arts, it’s also home to the country’s first national museum of architecture, MAXXI Architettura. The institute also houses an art museum, MAXXI Arte. The compelling building, designed by architect Zaha Hadid, is a work of art in itself and a maze of bridges and walkways leads visitors between its unconventional spaces. Visit MAXXI Architettura to discover the wonders of 20th century and modern day Italian architecture or explore cutting-edge interdisciplinary art collections at MAXXI Arte.
Often considered the younger, more audacious sister of MAXXI, MACRO (Museo d'Arte Contemporanea) has two locations: MACRO Via Nizza, housed in an old beer factory in the city centre, and MACRO Testaccio, which takes over a former slaughterhouse in the suburbs. Aiming to bring international art to the capital while creating a bridge between the two areas, the museums present boldly curated exhibitions by local and international talents. Since opening, the MACRO museums have become popular meeting places of the city’s creative residents and are essential stops for modern art enthusiasts.
For a taste of Italian art in Rome, visit Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (National Gallery of Modern Art) – home to one of the largest collections of contemporary Italian art in the world. The museum, which is located at the stunning Villa Borghese, showcases thousands of paintings and sculptures from the last three centuries. Its permanent and temporary exhibitions explore an enormous array of artistic themes, from world and war to light and movement. While for many, the highlights are the works by Italian masters like Umberto Boccioni, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna also has a dynamic collection of works by some of the international art world’s greatest names, such as Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.
Following the lead of many great modern galleries, Pastificio Cerere has taken a redundant space (a former pasta factory) and transformed it into a place where artistic creativity reigns supreme. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the venue offers up-and-coming artists a blank canvas on which to showcase their work, as well as a residency programme for artists and curators living in Italy. A space that is both dynamic and ever changing, this is where many locals come to see cutting edge modern art in Rome.
An art tour of Rome isn’t complete without visiting Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma Capitale. The museum specialises in modern and contemporary art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and displays over 3,000 pieces by some of the most significant artists of the period. As well as exploring masterpieces by the likes of Giulio Aristide Sartorio, Nino Costa and Onorato Carlandi, enthusiasts can explore entire artistic movements such as Symbolism, Realism, Divisionism and Expressionism.
After a day of exploring the galleries and museums of Rome, relax and reflect at Hotel de Russie in the beautiful secret garden.
Image credits: MAXXI © Fondazione MAXXI, MACRO © Luigi Filetici, Pastificio Cerere © Studio Ottavio Celestino.