Is This Piet Mondrian Painting Hanging on the Wrong Side?

Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s famous abstract painting could have been hanging upside down over the past 77 years. It’s been in museums since 1945 and is titled “New York City.” The Italian artist Francesco Visalli was one of the first to voice the opinion that the red, yellow, blue, and black adhesive placed on a white canvas piece must be rotated 180 degrees.

Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s famous abstract painting could have been hanging upside down over the past 77 years.

How the Decision Was Concluded

Curator Susanne Meyer-Büser shares the same view as Visalli. She revealed the possible discovery during a press conference last week, when a new exhibition was announced to mark 150 years since the famous painter’s passing.

Piet Mondrian

Of course, more than one question remains unanswered. There are still some clues to mention, though. For one thing, there’s a photo of the artist’s studio posted back in 1944, where the painting is shown on its easel, rotated 180 degrees from its “modern” position. Mondrian himself considered the piece far from complete and didn’t sign it. This created problems for curators, as they didn’t know its orientation.

Will the Painting Be Turned?

Not everyone agrees that the painting has been hanging on the wrong side. Harry Cooper, who’s a curator at the National Gallery of Art, has helped prepare some of Mondrian’s exhibitions. He commented that the piece was still under construction. According to him, even though the piece might have been put on an easel, that didn’t mean it was complete. It’s possible, he says, that Mondrian intended to continue working on it.

Is This Piet Mondrian Painting Hanging on the Wrong Side?

Will it be turned the “right way?” As it turns out, many curators agree it should remain as it has been for so many years. The artwork is made of adhesive tape, which is already extremely loose. Turning the whole work of art upside down will cause it to pull into another direction, which could damage the piece even further.

Ancient Rome Was Incredibly Massive and Surprisingly Mobile

It’s no mystery that the countries we live in today are not of the same size as they were in ancient atlases. But what we often overlook or can’t fathom is that those ancient lands were much larger, almost double the sizes of today. This has been very true in the case of Rome. While modern transport considerably cuts short travel duration across the globe, back then even the fastest transport between the capital of the ancient Roman Empire and any of its largest cities used to take at least two weeks. This long-distance travel is enough to give us an idea of how big ancient Rome was.

The Imperial Era

During the height of the reign of Emperor Trajan in 117 CE, the Roman Empire stretched from the northern part of England to the east of the Mediterranean, right down through Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf. The total area of the empire measured about 5,000,000 km. During 118 – 138 CE, the ruler of Rome was Emperor Hadrian, the successor of Trajan. During his dynasty, Rome became even larger, stretching from Britain in the west to southwest Asia, and from today’s Netherlands in the north down to Egypt in the south. Though, these gains of extra territory were short-lived.

The Mobility of the Region

You’d be mistaken to think that the vastness of ancient Rome and the absence of a modern transport system barred the common people from traveling from one place to another. Instead, the economic and socio-cultural study of imperial Rome reveals that the numerous people inhabiting the large region were not isolated from each other. The Roman Empire possessed an incredibly developed roadway infrastructure, river ferries, harbors, and ports along the Mediterranean coast. Though primarily intended for military functions, all these transportation channels were made available for civilian use, facilitating easier mobility within and beyond the vastness of ancient Rome.