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Modern Art in Rome

The National Museum of Modern Art (Museo nazionale di art moderna) is a misnomer, since it mainly displays modern Italian art, to which it is a magnificent introduction. There is a superb variety of pictures by Sironi, Balla, Guttuso, Severini, de Chirico, Morandi (not even one jug!), and two lovely landscapes by Ottone Rosai. However, in the whole building, there only appears to be one translation, viz. the notice on the bar: E vietato recarsi in giardino con tazze e bicchieri Close translation: 'It is forbidden! (here again, das Betreten ist verboten, see Rupert Brooke's Grantchester) to make one's way into the garden with cups and glasses.' Displayed translation: 'Please do not carry glasses and cups in the garden.' My preferred translation: 'Please do not take cups or glasses into the garden.' Note again the warmth and friendliness of the 'untranslatable' English 'please', to which I wrote a hymn of praise in this journal many years ago. There are excellent descriptive leaflets to the main pictures in each room, but why only in Italian?


Peter Newmark (1998) More Paragraphs On Translation, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, p. 17.