Palazzo Merulana: a new haven of Roman modern art, five years in the making.
After a long-awaited period of reconstruction, the former Health Department building at Via Merulana 121 has opened its doors as the brand new Palazzo Merulana, home to a fine modern and contemporary art collection.
The permanent collection is spread over two floors and is focused mainly on modern Italian art of the early twentieth century. Originally showcasing just the Roman School artists, it has grown to include many works from the Piazza del Popolo School, as well as several pieces of contemporary artwork by international artists. Though there isn’t really a main theme uniting the displayed work, those given pride of place are its Italian modernist painters – Antonio Donghi, Giorgio Di Chirico, Lucio Fontana, and Giovanni Capogrossi, to name but a few.
Their world highlights that soft, figurative world of the post-war era, characterized by its deliberate ‘return to order’ and traditional forms of painting still carrying modern elements of stark futurist line or the eerie nihilism of metaphysical painting (this was perfected by Di Chirico and can be seen in his depiction of deserted cities).
The result is a very soothing collection of beach scenes, portraits of children and women at leisure, all seemingly removed from the growing chaos of their time. The gallery is located just a stone’s throw away from Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, but it remains very quiet and tranquil, ideal for escaping the busy crowds of the centro’s famous galleries and museums.
The reconversion includes an elegant open-plan entrance hall comprising a bookshop, café/bar and small outdoor patio. Its atmosphere is calming and serene, with large modern sculptures interspersed between each space, and light shining through the large stone arches of the ground floor.
The Elena and Claudio Cerasi Foundation and CoopCulture founded and sponsored the Palazzo Merulana project, and seek to revitalize community through culture and the arts. The museum holds monthly discussions on cultural and political topics, workshops, book launches and music nights- information for these events can be found on the gallery’s official website.
Via Merulana, 121
Monday, Wednesday – Friday 2pm – 8pm; Saturday – Sunday 10am – 8pm