Monday, 4 July 2016

Farnesina Village: A paintings´ gallery under the Tiber

Farnesina Village: A paintings´ gallery under the Tiber

Translated by Diana Guevara from its original language

In 1879 an urban remodeling in Rome brought to light the remains of a Roman home from the I B.C. century with splendid frescos.
A catastrophic flooding of the Tiber occurred on December 28th 1870 while passing through Rome. From the very beginning the city suffered from the repeated flooding of this kind, but nowadays the Italian government decided to provide all the resources to prevent them from happening. A committee squad of the best hydraulic engineers from the time and on 1875 with the impulse of Giusseppe Garibaldi, Raffache Canevari´s project was approved, which proposed to build walls on the margins of the river, clean and expand its riverbed until reaching 100 meters of width on its trail around the city.
In the Farnesina Village, a beautiful renaissance residence on the right side of the river shore, the riverbed did not measure more than 40 meters, which is why other 60 meters were dug out in order to reach the width established by the Canevari project. It was during the construction work on March 1879 that ´´the noble remains of a private house of the Augustea age with the most exquisite mural paintings that had never before been seen in Rome.´´ were shown to the world according to the archeologist Rodolfo Lancians on his first report.
The residence was indeed part of the Emperor Augusto´s age ( 27 B.C. – 14 A.D.) and it stood out because of its frescos and stuccos miraculously conserved. Up until that moment the examples of Roman parietal paintings that appeared in the empire´s capital, the only ones that were known were the ones at the Livia house in Palatino and at the Auditory of Mecinas in Erquilino, which is why the study of antique roman painting was based exclusively on the contemporary discoveries of the Pompeiians.

Operation Rescue
The archeologist had to work under a great deal of pressure. The architectural remains of the house were eliminated due to ´´public utility reasons.´´ Such was the urgency that the engineer in charge of the follow up and digging excavations, Domenico Marchetti, complained on June 1879 of not being able to guarantee the exact planimetry, due to the fact that the old walls were knocked down before he could measure or draw its position. The only thing that was decided to keep was decorative elements: frescos, stuccos, and mosaics. Some of them were lost, especially black and white geometric mosaics, and others got stolen or sold to art merchants that stood beside the excavation sites to bribe the workers. However, most of the paintings were transferred over huge plank to the Botanic Garden, until they were taken to its final destination in the Termas de Diocleciano, the first branch of the National Roman Museum in 1889. 
On September 1879 a well-known journalist from La Stampa wrote: ´´ It is a very special and curious work done with great ability and patience. Each one of those frescos was taken from the walls, they can be taken as if they were a piece of fabric, it is cleaned and placed on a frame. That is how many beautiful paintings are made. I have already seen a few of them framed and I may tell you that it is something my eyes had never seen.´´
It is believed that this splendid village was built by Marco Vipsanio Agripa around 21 B.C. , when he got married with Julia, Augusto´s daughter. A neighborhood filled mainly by art workshops and big storage homes like wineries that were found in 1880 in the vicinity of the village, rose on the Trastevere. Although it was not a highly populated residential suburban zone like the nearby Janiculum or the Vatican areas, the Latin sources place in them other famous villages such as the one of Clodia, lover of the poet Catulo, or the one of Casio Longino, one of the murderers of Cesar, and also the beautiful gardens of the dictator, the horti Caesariani, connected to the heart of the Urbe by a bridge made by Agripa.

Luxury next to the Tiber
The watercolor paintings of Domenico Marchetti and Rodolfo Lanciani´s report are the only testimonies conserved of the village´s architecture. It was about a residence on the shore of the Tiber, with a view to the Campo the Marte and with scenery made up of two symmetrical bodies shown on both side of a big exedra. The paintings decorated nine estancias of the winter wing: three bedrooms, the dining room, the lobby and the entrance, a hallway that communicated the bedrooms with the servants, the garden and the internal hallway of the central exedra.

The quality of the paintings, the quantity of the details and the decorative motives depended on the function of the spaces and the social Rank of the people that had access to them. In that way the environments where the chief welcomed his customers had an austere decoration, while the ones where the guest were invited had the most rich and elaborate paintings. These magnificent frescos are conserved nowadays in the Massimo alle Terme Palace in the rooms that look like the original house. 
Problems Faced
During the translation of the article what I found the most difficult to translate were the names of the buildings and vocabulary related to architecture, such as planimetria, cauce, acuarelas, semienterrado, and the word nobilisima. In order to solve this difficulty the words were looked up in various dictionaries until a word that matched the context of the article was found. The translation method used for this task was the faithful translation method since preserving the contextual meaning for the original text was the most important because it dealt with a historical discovery. Hence, why the words were looked up in order to find accurate lexicon that coincided with the context of the text.

It relates to the method chosen to translate a whole text. There are 8 methods:
1. Word-for-word
2. Literal 3. Faithful
4. Semantic 5. Adaptation 6. Free 7. Idiomatic
 8. Communicative.
A translation strategy is the plan the translator applies in order to consciously solve a problem encountered while translating a text. It involves choosing a method to approach the text.
Used to translate parts of the text such as sentences, phrases or single words.


La villa Farnesina: una galería de pintura bajo el Tíber. (2014) Retrieved on June 28th, 2016 from

Ordudari, Mahmoud. Translation procedures, strategies and methods Retrieved on June 25th, 2016 from

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