The five of us in Rome
CULTURAL HISTORY - PRIZE WINNING BOOK 1928
THE FIVE OF US IN ROME is the delightful story told by a young girl who arrives in Rome in 1892 almost 5 years old and who leaves in 1896 as a 9-year old. Her father is an art painter who rents an atelier with family living quarters in the Villa Strohl-Fern, a mansion full with other artists, situated in a lush park close to Villa Borghese and the Academies of Art – in this period still on the outskirts of Rome. The story received the prize of the best book for girls in 1928 in Holland.
Given the amassed artistic talent at the Villa Strohl-Fern and its particular role in art history Tine’s book has become a remarkable historical document as well. It relates about life at the Villa in its early years, and the family story connects with historical figures from this special place and period. This first translation in English includes many historical links that do not appear in the 1928 Dutch original.
Around 1895 countries had kings and emperors, people rode in horse drawn carriages and steam trains, the telephone was only an invention. Nations had the Prix de Rome for their best young art talents to study in the Eternal City. Many of them later made a name. The painter from Holland is older and comes with his wife and three children, all paid for by his father, a manufacturer. He has his aim in art: “Rembrandt opened our eyes for painting directly what the world offers. He taught us his effects of light and dark. I go further, for me it are the phenomena in nature and the dramatic sentiment by which I experience the world.” When his daughter Dientje gets ill with malaria perniciosa he has to choose between his family and his desire of artistic fulfillment in Italy. All the while Tine’s eye and heart record how it is to be a young girl in a foreign land and in that garden between artists.
Tine’s style in Dutch is lofty and tinges on the formal. This English translation is more fluid but the lofty Father and Mother have been retained. This edition is not intended as a children’s book but is for readers with an interest in cultural history and the joy in life.
Tine Cool (1887-1944) was a garden architect and writer.
Cover photograph likely taken by Alfred Wilhelm Strohl-Fern in 1894, at the Villa Strohl-Fern in front of the studio rented to The five of us in Rome. Left to right: Paul Peterich, Mother (Berber Cool-Kijlstra), Dientje (a.k.a. Dinchen), Father (Thomas Cool), Tine (a.k.a. Tinchen), Wilhelm Kumm. Absent in the picture is the fifth of The five of us in Rome: little Gerrit.
PM. See this book in Italian by Giovanna Caterina de Feo (2010) on Alfred Wilhelm Strohl-Fern and the list of artists who worked at the Villa at one point in their life. German readers may be interested in in this book by Christine Thome. PM. A note in Dutch on the translation of "The five of us in Rome"..
review by Jan van Zijverden (in Dutch). Historisch tijdschrift Fryslân,
jaargang 17, nr. 1 (januari 2012), www.historischtijdschriftfryslan.nl
|Full title: “The five of us in Rome. An artist’s family in Villa Strohl-Fern in Rome 1892-1896. English translation of Wij met ons vijven in Rome, 1928”. Author: “C.A. (Tine) Cool”.||
||Order at the American Book Center, The Hague or Amsterdam (online or shop)|
|Full title: “The five of us in Rome. An artist’s family in Villa Strohl-Fern in Rome 1892-1896. English translation of Wij met ons vijven in Rome, 1928”. Author: “C.A. (Tine) Cool”.||€ 19.95||
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