I am pretty sure I speak for Laurent as well as myself when I say the four years we spent in Rome were a very special time in our lives. Yes it was the place and the opportunities it offered but more importantly it was the people we met, the people we came to know and care for over that time.
We only met Garth Speight on one or two occasion and didn’t speak to him that often but his work spoke to us. A Canadian artist, he has spent much of his creative life in Rome capturing the Rome, Italy and the world in his travels. And I’m happy to say we have two of his remarkable works to remind us
Our last Christmas in Rome (2010) Laurent gave me one of Garth’s oils to remind me of our time there. In his distinctive style he captures the lines and shifting tones of the 3rd century Amphitheatrum Castrense built as part of an Imperial Palace of the Severan Dynasty. Later it was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls that surrounded the city as a defence barrier. Animal skeletons uncovered during excavations suggest that it may have been used for spectacles that included the hunting of exotic wild beasts.
And as a gift when I said goodbye to Rome in June 2011 Laurent gave me one of Garth’s prints. I’m not sure where this street scene is in our beloved Rome but Laurent has suggested it is over on the Janiculum Hill near the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola. Located on the other side of the Tiber the Janiculum is considered by many to be the eighth hill of Rome. It is often neglected by visitors to the city but it should be noted that it has the most spectacular views of Rome. The site of a battle against the French during the Risorgimento the parkland and belvedere are dotted with memorials to the revolutionaries including the often overlooked woman who stood and fought beside her husband: Anita Garibaldi. (Left click for photos of the memorial and her incredible story.)
I treasure these two works as a memory of our time spent in Rome, our great love for the city, and of the remarkable people we met there. Thank you Garth for giving us something to keep Rome in our hearts.
More of Garth’s works can be found on his website: gspeight.com
The word for April 5th is:
Belvedere /ˈbelvəˌdir/: [noun]
A summerhouse or open-sided gallery, usually at rooftop level, commanding a fine view.
Late 16th century: from Italian, literally ‘fair sight’, from bel ‘beautiful’ + vedere ‘to see’.