El sosiego de un futuro en deuda

March is the month of Mars, the pater or father of the Roman people and divine parent of Romulus and Remus. And it was in March that Koz Dos painted a mural on a wall of the GRA in the La Rustica area of Rome which in many ways evokes this warrior divinity. In this surreal half-human, half-animal bust – which begins with a head with the muzzle of a half-wildcat, half-wolf – traits of the Old Continent of which Rome was the imperial capital and the New Continent from which Koz Dos originates coexist. For him, the two animal faces represent the union of these two worlds.

We are in the direction of Tivoli here, and this Venezuelan artist hides among the brushstrokes and spraypaint of this richly symbolic piece of work an ancient story which unfolds between the travertine marble of the Tivoli quarries and the relationship between the emperor Hadrian (who built his Villa Adriana in Tivoli) and his lover and companion Antinous, who Adrian had deified after his mysterious death in Egypt in 130 AD.

The marble face of the young Bithynian, which became a canon of male beauty in art, is contained inside the head of this bust, which opens up like an egg or a Russian doll. Moving along the prone body we encounter a couple of woodpeckers, there to celebrate the woodpecker’s role as symbol of Mars, who, together with the she-wolf, fed the twins Romulus and Remus until the shepherd Faustulus found them and took them to safety.

A little further on the artist has painted the mouth of the man inside the triangle which is the symbol of the Trinity. The deity – Koz Dos points out to us – is not an eye that observes or judges the human species for its errors and victories, so it cannot therefore be the symbol of vision or of aesthetics. Vision and aesthetics belong to artists while the divine is a word, because it is above all through spoken and written stories, myths and legends that things are passed down from generation to generation.

The Venezuelan artist is particularly attentive to the teachings of elders, like those handed down to him by his own grandmother. He sees the ancient traditions which come down to us from the ancestral rites of our ancestors who celebrated natural cycles and phenomena as under threat and at risk of being cancelled out by the desire for modernity and the global homologation linked to development – a need that is profoundly changing our culture and which Koz Dos notices in Europe as much as in his native South America. He represents it with the arrows which we jab into our own flesh – a pain we cause to our own species. But here he paints two strong hands breaking the arrows that pierce them, perhaps through the power of knowledge. Continuing through this man-story we find another positive element that the artist has included: the wine, which is there to celebrate life and to drink to the memory of these myths and their stories which we hope will not be lost.

Work in progress


White as travertine marble

This road, so close to the Via Tiburtina, immediately suggests a theme which is fundamental when speaking of the beauty of Rome’s monuments: travertine stone. Also known as Lapis Tiburtinus, this type of material was extracted from the Cava del Barco quarry near Tivoli – Tibur, in ancient times, hence the name of the road – where two of the most important sanctuaries can be found: that of the Tiburtine Siybl and that of Hercules Victor. It is the consular Via Tiburtina, therefore, which it is necessary to travel to reach Rome and the gate of the same name in the Aurelian Walls from which the road has run since the third century AD, when the emperor Aurelian surrounded the city with a second ring of fortifications. Previously, the beginning of the Via Tiburtina Valeria was located near today’s Piazza Vittorio, more or less by what are now known as Mario’s Trophies, the ruins of a monumental fountain and water distribution castle built by Severus Alexander in 226 AD at the end of a branch of an aqueduct which, to judge from its height, can only have been connected to the Acqua Claudia or Anio Novus aqueducts.

As part of the continuous exchange between those within the walls and those outside them which took place during the Middle Ages, works of art, construction materials, goods, artists and armies all passed along the Via Tiburtina. This was the case of the militias engaged in the long war between Rome and Tivoli (in the twelfth century) which marked the beginning of the Commune of Rome and the rediscovery of the ancient motto SPQR. In this period, moreover, the birth of the Campidoglio as an institution, the absence of the pope from Rome and the arrival of the monk Arnaldo da Brescia, an advocate of a proto-republican policy, were decisive in the creation of a system of secular values ​​(not without a touch of anticlericalism), which later became part of the city’s history, but which at the time provoked a terrible reaction from Nicholas Breakspear, also known as Pope Adrian IV.

It was in fact the British pope who had the last word in the story of the Roman Commune when he excommunicated the city, forcing the seat of the Papacy to respect the rules of his condemnation. The sacraments were forbidden, the churches were closed and thick black veils were draped over crucifixes. Only in this way was the city defeated and ecclesiastical dominance over Rome’s institutions re-established.



Born in 1986, Koz Dos began making graffiti in Caracas and is now known worldwide for his hyper-realistic murals where men and beasts merge into a single figure, the first often inserted into the mouths of the second as though to underline how the human species belongs to the animal kingdom. These figures are usually accompanied by and intersected with geometric solids.

Koz Dos has participated in numerous Street Art exhibitions and festivals in various countries around the world, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, France, Spain, Germany and Israel.