Just as painters like Pompeo Batoni who lived in eighteenth and nineteenth century Rome immortalised tourists on their Grand Tour, so today do Ausili and Gianferro compose a visual story of that same pilgrimage and its protagonists, image by image. Their painted backdrop welcomes young seminarians, cheerful nuns, souvenir vendors, Roman gladiators (…) and all the particular human fauna that makes up the backbone of the religious tourism that this city inspires like few others.
Paradoxically, it is here, in the quiet of the studio, that the travelling experience not only enjoys a break, but actually finds its true authenticity. The portraits reveal a mix of depth, tension, aspiration and enthusiasm. The subjects’ eyes and posture before the camera reveal the expectations of all travellers. Expectations that are to be relentlessly tempered, perhaps even extinguished, when, just a few metres from here, the dream becomes reality and the pilgrim emerges from their Grand Tour portrait into the confusion of the piazza.