Shalom, Peace, Salaam



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I spent the summer of 1993 in Rome, Italy, immersing myself in the study of art, with site trips to Florence, Sienna, Venice, Milan, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples, to name but a few of the rich artistic and cultural crucibles that date back to Etruscan/Greco-Roman epochs. The focal point of my scholarly research focused on architecture, mosaic art, sculpture, landscape architecture, tapestries, fresco, tempera, and oil paintings. Casa Kolbe, a remodeled sector of a 15th century Franciscan friary (located in the vale that serves as the demarcation line between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills), was the epitome of ospitalia Italiana. This ambiente perfetto in the lap of history and right in the heart of ancient Rome afforded me the quotidian opportunity to view the Fora Imperiale, Teatro Marcello, Foro di Traiano, Monumente Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, and the first century AD Bocca Della Verita (Mouth of Truth) medallion-shaped portrait-face at the entrance to the Basilica Santa Maria en Cosmedin. The most distinctive features of this 5’9”-diameter relief sculpture are the gawking eyes and the gaping mouth which was the ancient’s version of the lie detector. If, upon inserting one’s hand into the cavernous mouth one were to tell a lie, justice would be swiftly administered in the form of a severed hand.