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1 Image 1 Minute

Kati Rubinyi, Susan Silton
Organized by Micol Hebron
Mimmo Jodice, Entrance to the caves of the Cumaean Sibyl, Cumae, Italy, 1987.

Mimmo Jodice, Entrance to the caves of the Cumaean Sibyl, Cumae, Italy, 1987.

Greek colonists on the west coast of Italy built the Cave of the Sibyl around 2500 years ago. It’s a work of architecture that only has an inside: a passageway built along the inner face of a hillside, with openings at intervals. Its only constituent parts are light, darkness, perspective and a keystone cross-section: the architecture itself is photographic. The passageway dead-ends in the room where the Sibyl told fortunes. She told Aeneas, who washed up in Cumae after fleeing Troy, that he was on the right track, that his descendents were going to be part of something big. Romulus and Remus came into the picture seven generations later. The Sibyl appears in paintings and literature during the Renaissance, and she’s on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Cave of the Sibyl was important to the Romans for explaining their connection to the Greeks. It goes without saying that this place, in real life, is just a footnote to its story and even its image. This photograph has been above my desk for the last 17 years. When I was last there, I wanted to take this picture, but I would have needed a permesso. I had to leave my tripod on the bus.

Kati Rubinyi, Artist, Educator, Researcher

Further Reading