Enea, Anchise, and...

From the sea, a spear, bearer of the new, flies in a straight line over the Agro Romano towards Rome, where it plunges into the fatal hills. This happened in the remote past and it happens again today on the wall between the Via Pontina and the Via Cristoforo Colombo which Diavù has painted for GRAArt.

Three figures stand against a blood-red background: two men and a girl. It is a trio that belongs to the city’s most precious myth and which has been depicted countless times by artists from every historical period (Raphael and Bernini to name but two). In this case, though, Aeneas’s flight from a burning Troy ‘happens’ at the landing place on the beach of the ancient Lavinium, as in a snapshot containing the idea of past, present and future in a single symbolic image .

And in fact, the painting also boasts another stylistic feature, that of the representations of the three ages of man. Anchises, the elderly man on the right, is the past, tragic yet benedictory; in the centre, Aeneas, an archaic refugee and founder, is the present; and on the left, Ascanius Iulus, father of the dynasty who led Romulus and Remus to the banks of the Tiber – the future. But here, the future is understood as being of a different quality: a feminine quality which perhaps refers to Lavinia, the Latin princess who was the reason Aeneas stopped on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea – the love that gave life to the blood of Rome. And here, it is love which holds in its hand the hero’s spear: the symbol of conquest as well as the element of the composition which suggests how this piece of work, in which everything takes place along a straight line and space and time are the same thing, is to be read.

Finally, on the left and right, are two tsunamis, about to overwhelm the trio while simultaneously projecting the composition into a powerfully emotional dimension. This time they are temporal as well as physical boundaries: it was a wave which gave birth to them, and it will be another wave which welcomes them. To convey this idea, Diavù chooses to evoke ‘The Great Wave off Konigawa’, a woodcut by Japanese master printmaker Hokusai who, in the nineteenth century, ‘washed over’ Impressionist Europe, suggesting new points of view and distant cultures which were no longer out of reach.

On the straight line traced by the spear of a defeated king, an event takes place that merges myth with history and time with space, giving life to a place where the archaic roots of the dream of Rome can finally become archetypes and once again speak to us of hope and eternity.

Ilaria Beltramme

Work in progress



Along the route which leads from Rome to the sea runs an imaginary line which unites the coasts of the Tyrrhenian to the hills of the Eternal City. The story is that of the very birth of the city, which here becomes even more ancient than the legend of Romulus and Remus and draws directly upon the highest literary tradition – the end of Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid.

The landing of Aeneas on the coasts of Lazio and the foundation of Lavinium (known today as Pratica di Mare) are a splendid short-circuit of history, poetry, legend and reality which can still be ‘seen’ today, thanks in part to the wonderful artefacts contained in the Lavinium Archaeological Museum. Here, in fact, the Trojan beginnings of Rome are conserved in a collection related to a highly important archaeological site. It contains a Heroon from the 7th century BC which was honoured and guarded by the Romans from the 5th century BC as a funerary monument (and “geniune” proof) of the indissoluble bond between Rome and the deeds of the literary hero Aeneas.

According to tradition, he was the son of Aeneas Ascanio, later known by the Latin name Iulus, the founder of Alba Longa, the city from which Romulus and Remus came and where the seeds of the dynasty of Iulia (note the assonance) were planted – the dynasty which was the gens of, to name but two, Caesar and Octavian Augustus, whose legendary origins were always proclaimed and celebrated with splendour.

As straight as the arrow of the hero who escaped the fire of Troy, the emotional, literary and historical trajectory to which the wall is dedicated next leads us to the Palatine Hill, where Romulus and Remus carried out the famous foundation rite which allowed Rome to be born. A ritual which, thanks to the twenty years of archaeological study of the hill by scholar Andrea Carandini, could well have a tangible historical basis, proven by documents as well as by an endless number of literary sources.

A “mad desire for light” (as the museum’s multimedia exhibition reminds us) helped Aeneas survive in spite of all difficulties, giving him the courage to escape from a Troy consumed by flames. By saving himself and his friends, family and companions, the hero initiated a sequence of other events – other crises and other glories – which eventually produced the Rome of the fateful hills and its magnificent destiny. A city that, more than anywhere else, lives surrounded by concepts of glory and decline. And which, in fact, entrusted its immortality to them.


David Diavù Vecchiato

Diavù’s first Poster Art dates back to 1992, the same year his first comics and illustrations were published. Before showing in galleries, he displayed his art in the street and on printed paper. His first exhibition was in 1996, at the “Happening International Underground” in the social centres of Rome and Milan, and he later exhibited in Europe, Asia and the USA. Since 2007 he has been curating the artistic direction of Rome art gallery and art shop MondoPOP. One of the first curators in Italy to bring Urban Art into museums and museums out onto the street, he curated the ‘Urban Superstar Show’ festival (2009 at the MADRE in Naples and the Provincial Gallery of Cosenza) and in 2010 realised the ‘MURo (Museum of Urban Art of Rome)’ project. Since 2013, he has been curating the MURO series of documentaries for Sky ARTE HD. He is artistic director of GRAArt, which he devised and which he directs for ANAS.