Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2013

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Ávila

The emergence of Baroque art in the 17th c (1600 – 1700) was driven in part by the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church responded to the Reformation movement by propagating Baroque art with its flamboyance and theatricality, in order to engage the faithful through religious art and architecture and bring back erring believers to the Church.

The Cornaro Chapel is inside the Church of Santa Maria della Vittora in Rome. Here is Baroque art at its finest. St. Teresa of Ávila, a nun from the 16th century, is seen with an angel who has pierced her heart. Rays of light emanate from the heavens to illuminate the scene. On the side walls of the altar are theatre boxes where spectators (modeled by the Cornaro family) are watching the scene unfolding in front of them. St. Teresa is experiencing an intense spiritual vision that leaves her “utterly consumed by the great love of God”. Here is St. Teresa’s account of her vision:
It was our Lord's will that in this vision I should see the a…

Michaelangelo in Rome

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the job of the sculptor to discover it." Michaelangelo Buonarotti
Moses - Church of St. Peter in Vincoli
The statue of Moses at the basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli was to have been part of a grandiose monument and tomb for Pope Julius II, a patron of Michelangelo Buonarotti. But this same pope pulled Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512), a project that lasted four years. Not surprisingly, the scaled down version of the tomb was not completed until 1515. At eight feet in height, Moses is an all powerful figure, his muscles bulging from his arms and legs and transparent through the folds of his gown. He has a crown of horns symbolizing the “ray of light”, a misinterpretation of the Hebrew word karan which may also refer to horn depending on how it is read.
Pieta
The Pieta in the Basilica of St. Peter's was once the object of a madman who hammered away at Mary's nose, arm, hand and eyeli…

Random Rome

I spied this courtyard filled with antique statues on my way to Santa Susanna. It would have been lovely to take Venus or one of the busts home with me to adorn my ho-hum garden. How many interesting conversations it would have started! But I console myself that I didn't have to pay extra for excess baggage.

These two turbaned gentlemen in orange robes sit here all day in perfect balance across from the Pantheon. One man holds the stick on which the second sits in mid air. Total concentration and control are needed to maintain this stance. Most importantly, how can they keep cool in the scorching summer heat? They must be thinking about winter!

Yes, it's a pedal car but not for a child. I wonder if all the knock off bags and scarves hanging from the rack will be packed away in the back of this motorized tricycle? A smart car indeed!


A piece of wall, a reminder of Rome's storied past, preserved in the center of the city and just down the street from Santa Maria Maggiore. I…