San Luigi dei Francesi

Here, in the French national Church of Rome, a rainy spring afternoon beckons casual visitors to mingle with the largely French public inside. A cultured British couple interested mostly in the impressively painted works of Caravaggio is led by an adroitly dressed private tour guide, who occasionally forgoes reality as he re-presents the pair digital reproductions of the paintings on his Ipad. An older Frenchman, skeptical of this technological display, cites a nearby wall label and notes that the French king intended this building to overshadow the Pantheon; his son responds with a tired shrug. A Congolese agent at an information kiosk fails to notice the older woman in front of him, clearing her throat and waving a postcard in a sad dance for attention as he types amusedly on his cell phone. Across the room, a gentle Italian boy tries to take an exact measurement of the interior’s diameter with a miniature copper ruler. PK

This review is included in TTA7. Click here for more information about the issue.

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