In Rome, Shop Shutters Serve as After-Dark Art Canvases

| Thu, 11/10/2022 - 06:34
"Little Market"

Rome has long been recognized for its vibrant and gritty urban artworks. Full-fledged murals by internationally renowned artists co-exist with guerrilla-style graffiti by home-grown creatives.

shave and a haircut
Fancy a shave and a haircut? / Photo courtesy of Toni DeBella

But there’s a particularly fanciful pictorial subset that emerges mostly after dark, or at dawn — a kind of urban art gallery that adds a charming twist to any before-or-after-business-hours stroll.

Portrait of a lady
Portrait of a lady / Photo courtesy of Lisa Chambers

Using exterior rolling shutters as canvases, painters turn nondescript slats of metal into impromptu exhibits. Some pieces seem rooted in pure expression, while others offer commentary on political or social issues. Many simply serve as clever advertisements for promoting the goods and services of the retail establishment behind the veil. 

The Ostiense swimmer
The Ostiense swimmer / Photo via Peter Korteweg on Flickr

Hovering in the shadows or lit by the glow of lamplight, storefronts lining Rome’s cobbled streets become a whimsical open-air gallery that can be enjoyed from sunset to sunrise.