Receiving the Rome Scholarship in 2023 by Aelfred Hillman

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‘Here is a short statement about my experience and some photographs’ – Aelfred Hillman

“Receiving the RBA Rome scholarship in 2023 has been an incredible experience, entailing a month of unrelenting cultural enrichment and historical exploration that I will never forget.

Staying at the Sala 1 gallery within the Aurelian wall, I found that relics of the cities deep history greeted me at every turn, from the remains of the ancient aqueduct practically attached to my room, to the Scala Santa and Lantern Basillica just minutes away.

Around these proximate institutions you are able to get a unique sense of the cities religious life. Simply by their locality I found that I could return to the same magnificent buildings at different times of day to view their masterpieces in the changing light, or encounter the various ceremonial occasions that break up the week, giving me a perspective distinct from the usual routine of the daily tourist visit.

Meanwhile, the wider city is inexpressibly rich with different locations to visit, from Renaissance palaces and museums to the various archeological sites that have made the city famous across the globe.

Given the fantastic location of my accommodation, I found that there was little not within an hours walk and a practical distraction of places to interrupt my journey on any route I chose.

As a student of Literature with an enthusiasm for art history I found that I struggled to make time for my own artistic practice, given that there is simply so much on offer across the city. I attended talks at the Keats and Shelly museums, gallery openings and even a late night concert in the Vatican museums, each of which will make their own small impact on my artistic practice and thought process going forward. All of this would not have been possible without the generosity of all those at Sala 1 and the RBA, to whom I am indebted for facilitating this incredible month of artistic discovery in the eternal city.”

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