Really, you must have known there would also be a Dan Brown reference in this blog at some point as well. By the way, Tom Hanks’ face in this image perfectly captures how serious the students look while they’re drawing. In addition to their mapping project, walking tours and onsite lectures, we take as much opportunity as we can to visit the spaces and places of Rome and to draw. Today we met at the Castel Sant’Angelo (first Hadrian’s Mausoleum, then the fortified retreat of Popes under siege from the various sackings that Rome endured, now a museum on the Tiber, with phenomenal views of the city). We’re going to visit Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis museum next week or the week after, which is situated next to the Mausoleum of Augustus (Augustus Imperator) which served as an inspirational precedent for the design of Hadrian’s own – then to Tivoli to see the man’s Villa as well. We trekked through the Castel (incorporated into the Aurelian walls in the early 3rd century), and had a drawing charette on the rooftop, looking out over the City. We followed up in the afternoon with another drawing charette, review + discussion + an impromptu set of lessons on drawing and sketching – first the facade at St. Ivo (a taste of the Borromini love-in to come tomorrow), then at Bramante’s Santa Maria Della Pace. If you look hard enough, you can see how serious the students look. Tom Hanks/Robert Langdon – eat your heart out.