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MESSALINA IN MACRO - Limited Edition of 8 Photograph

Mayram Maryam


Photography, Color on Paper

Size: 39.4 W x 39.4 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

Mayram Maryam, "MESSALINA IN MACRO", 2020, unique author's technique, 100 x 100 cm. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, (Italian: Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma), usually known as MACRO, is a municipal contemporary art museum in Rome, Italy. The first phase of conversion of the MACRO was completed in 1999, with the restoration of the old block of the Peroni brewery, built in the early twentieth century on via Reggio Emilia, and it has recently been expanded by the leading French architect Odile Decq. The new wing of the building, with the entrance at the corner of via Nizza and via Cagliari, creates a dynamic balance, integrating the new structure into the district, putting the museum in a dialogue with the city, offering to the visitors and Roman citizens both the new exhibitions and urban spaces, such as the large terrace, the parking, the library and the restaurant. The New MACRO joins with the spaces of the MACRO Testaccio and the Pelanda, inside the ex-slaughterhouse in Testaccio, to make this multifaceted cultural centre as a Roman institution that aims to promote the value of contemporary Italian and international art. Valeria Messalina (c. 17/20–48) was the third wife of the Roman emperor Claudius. She was a paternal cousin of Emperor Nero, a second-cousin of Emperor Caligula, and a great-grandniece of Emperor Augustus. A powerful and influential woman with a reputation for promiscuity, she allegedly conspired against her husband and was executed on the discovery of the plot. Her notorious reputation arguably results from political bias, but works of art and literature have perpetuated it into modern times. Little is known about Messalina's life prior to her marriage in 38 to Claudius, her first cousin once removed, who was then about 47 years old. Two children were born as a result of their union: a daughter Claudia Octavia (born 39 or 40), a future empress, stepsister and first wife to the emperor Nero; and a son, Britannicus. When the Emperor Caligula was murdered in 41, the Praetorian Guard proclaimed Claudius the new emperor and Messalina became empress. After her accession to power, Messalina enters history with a reputation as ruthless, predatory and sexually insatiable, while Claudius is painted as easily led by her and unconscious of her many adulteries. The historians who relayed such stories, principally Tacitus and Suetonius, wrote some 70 years after the events in an environment hostile to the imperial line to which Messalina had belonged. Two accounts especially have supplemented the gossip recorded by historians and added to Messalina’s notoriety. One is the story of her all-night sex competition with a prostitute in Book X of Pliny the Elder's Natural History, according to which the competition lasted for 24 hours and Messalina won with a score of 25 partners. The poet Juvenal mentions Messalina twice in his satires. One story told there is that she compelled Gaius Silius to divorce his wife and marry her. In his sixth satire appears the notorious description of how the Empress used to work clandestinely all night in a brothel under the name of the She-Wolf. In the course of that work, Juvenal coined the phrase frequently applied to Messalina thereafter, meretrix augusta (the imperial whore). In so doing, he coupled her reputation with that of Cleopatra, another victim of imperially directed character assassination, whom the poet Propertius had earlier described as meretrix regina (the harlot queen).

Details & Dimensions

Photography:Color on Paper

Artist Produced Limited Edition of:8

Size:39.4 W x 39.4 H x 0.1 D in

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Mayram Maryam is a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Above the valleys and the lakes: beyond The woods, seas, clouds and mountain-ranges: far Above the sun, the aethers silver-swanned With nebulae, and the remotest star, My spirit! with agility you move Like a strong swimmer with the seas to fight, Through the blue vastness furrowing your groove With an ineffable and male delight. Far from these foetid marshes, be made pure In the pure air of the superior sky, And drink, like some most exquisite liqueur, The fire that fills the lucid realms on high. Beyond where cares or boredom hold dominion, Which charge our fogged existence with their spleen, Happy is he who with a stalwart pinion Can seek those fields so shining and serene: Whose thoughts, like larks, rise on the freshening breeze Who fans the morning with his tameless wings, Skims over life, and understands with ease The speech of flowers and other voiceless things.

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