Rome's Top Museums: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna

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Housed in an historical building that was finished in between 1911 and 1915, the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome is dedicated to the modern and contemporary art. The design of the building reflects the classical architecture and is reminiscent of an ancient temple. To me, the museum is a beautiful "time capsule" that connects the old and the new. 

The exhibition Time is Out of Joint | Photo: Vy Dan Tran
The exhibition Time is Out of Joint | Photo: Vy Dan Tran

One of the most impressive temporary exhibitions at the museum is the "Time is Out of Joint." The idea behind this exhibition is to renovate curatorial methods by exhibiting artworks, based on their aesthetic value and subject matters rather than in a chronological order. The show alludes to the end of the history of art and aims to provide a new perspective on looking at art from different time periods- thus a fun and unique experience for the viewers. The museum-goers have the chance to examine works by Antonio Canova, Giacomo Balla, Paul Cézanne, Giorgio De Chirico, Marcel Duchamp,  Alberto Giacometti, Francesco Hayez, Gustav Klimt and many others, side by side. 

Here is a cool video about the exhibition, posted by Giorgio Nasti on Vimeo: 

The exhibition, whose title quotes a verse from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet—“The time is out of joint”—investigates the notion of time in its fluidity, non-linearity, and stratification; a fragmented time which seems to embody art historian Hans Belting’s dilemma “the end of the history of art, or art’s freedom.” Hamlet’s line “the time is out of joint” unhinges the best translations, whose “excellence can do nothing about it,” claims Jacques Derrida in his many pages of tightly packed ruminations on the subject. We, too, could list the many translations that turn “time” into “il tempo” but also into world or nature, and “out of joint” into out of sorts, off its hinges, out of square, disjointed, unhinged, disconnected. -  Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna
Part of the main collection of Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna | Photo: Vy Dan Tran
Part of the main collection of Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna | Photo: Vy Dan Tran

At the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, visitors will find works by world-renowned Impressionists and modern artists, such as Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, and Marcel Duchamp. The great thing about the museum is that it is not as busy as other famous modern museums around the world, thus a private space is provided just for "watching art". Among many artworks at the museum, I chose a few to look at closely. One of them was Klimt's "The Three Ages of Woman" (1905), and it was my first time seeing a painting by Klimt in the flesh. It is a moving artwork that represents the cycle of life. 

 Klimt's "The Three Ages of Woman" | Photo: Vy Dan Tran
Klimt's "The Three Ages of Woman" | Photo: Vy Dan Tran
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
Viale delle Belle Arti, 131, 00197 Roma RM, Italy

General museum tip

On the first Sunday of each month, state museums and archaeological sites offer free entry for everyone. Some of the most important ones are the Colosseum and Roman Forum/Palatine, the Museo Nazionale Romano (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Terme di Diocleziano), the Borghese Gallery (booking required), the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica-Palazzo Barberini, and the Galleria Nazionale Arte Moderna. A full list of the participating museums can be found on this website.

|"The Museums of Rome" series by Vy Tran

Other Roman museums worth visiting are the Galleria Borghese and the Musei Capitolini. While the Galleria Borghese and Galleria Nazionale Arte Moderna are in the free Sunday museum program, unfortunately, the Musei Capitolini is not.

Cover picture: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna | Credit: rarrarorro on iStock


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The author

Vy Tran

Vy Tran

Vy grew up in Hanoi but defines herself as a global citizen. She loves Dutch Golden Age paintings, dining at Michelin restaurants, watching warm sunsets and Italy, where she would be willing to spend her life.

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