Here comes the summer... I went to southern Italy to see some friends for my holiday. As I passed through Rome, I planned to stop there to visit the Italian capital. I especially wanted to discover the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. I was hopping up and down with joy at the idea of seeing the sculptures of Bernini, a famous Baroque artist of the seventeenth century. He is known for his dynamic figures, as if they were taken on the moment, like a photograph. I had gone to the Villa Borghese, where the main sculptor's works were exhibited.
I waited patiently in the gardens of the villa, for closing time at 7:30 p.m. When I came inside, I felt somewhat uneasy in the rooms. Drat! There were still visitors? No. I saw no one. However, I heard such low but clear murmurings, laughter, weeping and groans... for a moment I even felt the wind, although I was inside! Yet nothing moved in front of me... I thought then that the art of movement which Bernini had wished spread through his figures showed through not only visually, but also to the ear...
Suddenly, I heard louder voices on my right. There, a sculpture was moving... and moved with passion! A woman was struggling furiously in the arms of a man with an athletic musculature.
- Let me go! Summer is coming, I have to go to see my mother!
- No you haven't, stay here for once! Do you know what it is to be away from you for six months?? What a torture!
- If I don't return to earth, man will starve! Come on, let me go!
- If I let you go, you will come back, right? You will come back?…
- Of course I will, as always! I am your queen, remember...
The woman became gentle. She was bending to kiss the man, when some dust flew into my muzzle and made me sneeze. The couple then turned around and looked at me.
- It's possible to have some intimacy?! The man yelled at me.
- Be polite, darling! Retorted the woman
- Sorry, I didn't want to disturb you... I'm visiting the gallery...
I felt embarrassed.
- It's not closed at this time?
- Well, yes, exactly...
- A visitor! Listen darling, we must honor him! We must introduce ourselves!
The man resigned himself.
- This is Hades, god of the Underworld, and I'm Proserpine, his wife... You're lucky to see me here, I should normally already be gone!
- Where? I asked
- To spend the summer with my mother on Mount Olympus. My mother, Demeter, goddess of agriculture and harvest, was so sad when Hades kidnapped me that a terrible famine came upon man. The land became barren, plants stopped growing... I couldn't come back, I was a prisoner (I perceived sadness in her voice). To prevent the end of mankind, Zeus, the god of gods, proposed a deal to us: I could spend six months of the year with my mother, and had to stay six months with Hades in return. Thus were born the seasons. When I am with my mother, the sun shines and the land is fertile, because she is happy; when I am in hell, the cold sets in and the land becomes barren, because my mother is sad.
- You speak as if it were a torment to be with me! But you said you loved me...
He took the goddess in his arms and kissed her passionately.
They did not notice that I ran away. As I had understood (even felt!) the intentions of Bernini – to transcribe human fire & passions in stone - I preferred to leave them to their privacy.
Emile, the small heritage rat
About (in French)
Villa Borghese :
Bernini :
The roman-Greek mythology :

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