The 2015 RBA Rome Scholar was Meg Buick who has written a short account of her stay:
The month passed in a blur of heat, and bright sunlight, strange and wonderful imagery, and crowded, ancient places. I spent my days drawing in the shade of the gallery's walled garden, and walking around the city, searching for motifs and imagery that resonated with my work. The intense heat of July forced me to walk slowly, wandering through parks and stumbling upon ruins, bookshops, and cafes, and retreating in to the cool and quiet of the lesser-known museums. The hotter it was, the more my drawings seemed to emerge as if seen from within a haze of whiteness. The city seemed to be punctuated by Palm trees, Cypresses, and Maritime Pines, and they became a kind of reference point in my drawings, because at street level, the flow of people and traffic seemed overwhelming.
There was a vast variety of imagery that I felt connected in some way to what I was searching for, and I was intrigued by the way that objects and images, initially seeming to be unconnected, began to make sense together and resemble each other in my sketchbook, sparking ideas. Their creators often spanned tens of centuries; the textured, traumatised canvases of Alberto Burri in the Modern Art Gallery; the dignity and humour of the Etruscan potters in Villa Giulia; the neo-realist landscape photography of Gianni Berengo Gardin; or the weird and wonderfully coloured Byzantine paintings at the monastery of Santi Quattro Coronati.
Particularly memorable were the frescos in the Casa di Livia, a timeless garden of songbirds and orange trees, still radiant in its deep turquoise sky and bright flowers. I almost regretted my visit to the Vatican with its overwhelming crowds, yet it was made entirely worth it by the the tiny, delicately coloured panels of Bernardo Daddi, which seem to go unnoticed by most visitors as they rushed towards the Sistine Chapel.
Rome is an overwhelming and monumental city, and the chance to spend time there with the sole focus of developing my work was an incredible way to connect with and explore it. I continue to develop ideas that were formed or influenced by the experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to experience this."
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