Oil on Panel
© Kelly Medford, 2o11
While this place may be well known to Romans, I happened upon it by chance, or luck as the case may be. Intending to go somewhere else to paint, but unable to find the correct bus, I ended up jumping on a bus going to Rome's highest spot, Monte Mario.
I never mind not having a plan, but fate helped me out this day. An old woman got on the bus and sat right next to me and began to ask me a series of questions about where I was going with my big easel. When she discovered that I didn't really know where to go to paint, she took the lead and told me to follow her. We changed buses and made our way up the mountain.
We got off and walked into what is now a large public park along with public health services. The painting is titled after the place: the mental hospital for the entire region. The place is comprised of one large main building and then several smaller ones dotted throughout the property. The grounds overlook the city, and while there are fantastic views, the place itself is what I focused on, as it was both quiet, beautiful and yet unsettling. The unsettling part came from the abondened buildings, like the one I painted. Left in their original state, but now with vines sneaking up along the walls and into the broken windows slowly covering their subjects, these buildings could not be mistaked for anything but old hospitals for mental patients.
Everyone else seemed to be enjoying the place, as if there were nothing strange or eerie at all, while jogging, visiting with friends or walking their dogs, but it left quite an impression on me. Rome is a hauntingly beautiful place, full of the past meeting the present, where one can almost hear their whispers.