MG, The Colosseum & Hadrian’s Villa, 1987, PHOTOS - Roberto Bertinelli

A Life in Ruins

I am not the first traveler to find Italy to be a revelation – but so it was for me. Spending time in Florence and Rome in 1987 and 1988 was a sensory education and it set me on my professional course as a paintings conservator. I have Roberto Bertinelli to thank for the opportunity and for his faith in me – it changed everything.

I loved drawing and painting there. Initially, I was drawn to what I regarded as the elegance and restraint of Florence. I found Rome harder to comprehend and a little overwhelming. My jury was also definitely out at that time on the Baroque… I had much to learn.

But Rome started to work its magic with its ancient ruins.

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Roberto Bertinelli 1956-1994 – much missed.

“Now it’s over. Of him there remains an impressive collection of publications but above all the memory of a capable young man, with acute intelligence from serious research, and a cordial and friendly human disposition that made him beloved. And the bitterness and pain of the teacher remains, mourning the loss of the best pupil and of the dear friend.” – excerpt from the obituary by Roberto’s mentor, Professor Piero Corradini (1933-2006), published in Mondo Cinese, 86, Maggio-Agosto 1994.



  1. More luscious armchair travel thanks to your exquisite work. So grateful this experience inspired you to become a paintings conservator. I will think of your work when I am in Rome in a few weeks:)

  2. Thanks again Mike a lovely way to start a Sunday morning cup of tea in hand perusing your paintings and drawings of Rome! X

  3. Michael – From Circo Massimo, via the Romulus Temple, to the life-affirming gloriousness of the Fountain in Piazza Mattei (‘Love at first sight’) shows such a range of interests and a lovely range of painterly effects achieved – not to mention a reminder of the timeless yearning pull Rome exerts on the psyche. Ashok

Please let me know what you think!