This is one of my favorite spots in Rome. For some reason Renaissance Popes loved obelisks. This one is supported by a statue of an elephant by Gianlorenzo Bernini. It is in front of a church called Santa Maria Sopra Minerva – Saint Mary on top of Minerva – because it was built on top of a temple to Minerva. The building behind the elephant is the back of the Pantheon – the temple to all the gods.
In this painting, the subject is already pretty dramatic. The color of the limestone elephant, the sandstone obelisk, the brick Pantheon and the basalt pavement were an exercise in modulating the colors to make them interesting, and tying them together to make the painting cohesive.
Oil on canvas
36”w x 24”h