The 2013 RBA Rome Scholar was Jack Banister who has written a short account of his stay:
On being awarded the scholarship, I was excited by the prospect of working in an environment that was both challenging and very different to what I have studied before. Previously, my work has involved gloomy scenes in the Yorkshire Dales focusing on interacting local farmers. Working in Rome I expected my painting to be centred on the intense colour and warm social scenes. I was looking forward to identifying contrasts with my recent studies and continuing my attention to human interaction. It proved to be a challenge. Especially the climate, as working in the heat of the day was really testing. I found the method of working on a small scale and creating quick studies capturing whatever element initially drew me to a scene particularly effective. I often found a cool dark church or a drink from one of Rome's many water fountains a perfect escape from the heat.
On my first morning in Rome I ran down to The Colosseum. I set off at 6am so there was hardly anyone around. It was amazing to experience the most popular attractions almost on my own. A lot of the time the streets were heaving with tourists and I found I needed a week or two to settle and properly appreciate Rome in a more authentic light. Spending time exploring the city enabled me to identify areas of particular interest. I spent a lot of time down the crooked streets of the Jewish ghetto in which I have fond memories sketching and enjoying aperitivo with friends from the British School at Rome.
I was surprised to find myself drawn to Rome's many sculptures as much as I was to the paintings. It was amazing seeing the works of the world's most famous painters in the flesh. Caravaggio's in particular, as the vivid chiaroscuro in his work inspired me in many of my own paintings. But there was something about Bernini's powerful figures that really moved me to ignite some drama in my work. Some of my favourite of Bernini's work was in the Borghese Gallery, a 10-minute walk from the British School at Rome.
I consider my trip to Rome as being a truly special experience and I'm very grateful for the opportunity given by the RBA. It was so refreshing for me to work out of my comfort zone and go to such an inspiring city as Rome. I felt that being given the chance to live and work out there for a month lead me to form a real attachment to the city and I hope to go back soon.
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