By loving your neighbour, by having care for your neighbour, you are travelling on a journey. Where are you journeying, except to the Lord God, whom we must love with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind? We have not yet reached the Lord, but our neighbour is with us already. So support your neighbour, who is travelling with you, so that you may reach him with whom you long to dwell.
Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
….there’s a sign.
Some enormous and imposing, impossible to miss.
Others tucked away, like this small church of S. Nicholas, upon which I stumbled during some early-evening wanderings.
It is astonishing to be in a place where you can turn a corner, open a door, and be within a breath of a 14th-century-fresco.
….and then around the other corner from where we are staying, the Duomo, which is not remarkable, and its Baptistry, which is – no photos allowed inside, unfortunately. The exterior holds no clue as to the treasures within. Which is often the case.
I am loathe to make generalizations about anything, but I will say that after having been in France for seven weeks, the difference in the Italian spiritual air seems strong to me. Catholicism may be struggling in Italy, yes, but having your religious structures and imagery left intact and embraced as legitimate and important cultural patrimony (at least) rather than violently stripped away and then tossed in a rubbish heap does seem to make a difference….obviously.
“Christian Correctness (or perhaps “courtesy?”) in Church”
Posted in S. Maria dei Servi in Padua.
Which is wonderful. I love these mid-sized European cities.
This church is also home to a crucifix which was recently identified as the work of Donatello. It is a quite interesting story that begins (in modern times) with a scholar running across a hand-written annotation in an early edition of Vasari’s Lives of the Artists. The story is here. The crucifix is below. One of the interesting points the article makes is that the crucifix has had a cultus of a miracle associated with it, and perhaps that is the reason that it has never attracted the interest of art historians:
How could art history have forgotten such a masterpiece? Ruffini posited two theories to explain why the work escaped notice for centuries. First, he believes that the miracle associated with the crucifix made it first and foremost a cult object. “The important point about miracles is that their agency is divine. The fame of the crucifix as a cult object eclipsed the name of the artist who made it,” Ruffini remarked. “Religion and art often help each other, but there’s also a hidden competition between artistic and religious values. When the religious significance determines how we look at an object, the aesthetic ways we look at it are removed from consideration.”
….subway stations around featuring a statue of a saint, I’d imagine.
Sorry the pictures are terrible. Really. But it’s St. Denis, holding his head – at the Metro stop for his marvelous Basilica, a fitting place to end a month of attempting to roadschool French history..a place to revisit architecture, religious history, the monarchy and the Terror, all in one place…
A celebration of a Peruvian devotion at Notre Dame in Paris!
(We didn’t go to the Mass – we just happened to be in the area…)
The procession of the Señor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles), a mural picturing a dark-skinned Christ that is said to have been painted in a shrine by an Angolan slave, has drawn crowds of Roman Catholic devotees for centuries.
The icon is a copy of the mural, which is revered for its powers to cure the sick and protect against tremors in the Andean country. Originally worshipped by Afro-Peruvians, the Señor de los Milagros has become Peru’s best-known icon and has inspired worshipers around the world.
What happened here, in this courtyard on the Left Bank in Paris? What happened in this place, so simply marked?
It happened on September 2, 1792.
Essentially, these religious who had refused to sign the Constitution of the Clergy had been imprisoned in this former Carmelite monastery and elsewhere around Paris. On September 2, the dam broke and they were slaughtered.
I knew about this, and had found the church – St. Joseph des Carmes – a couple of weeks ago. We stood at the gate and looked at the church, but couldn’t figure out how to get in.
As we were standing there, and older man stopped, peered through the gate, and asked me (in French), “Is that a church in there?”
I told him yes.
He looked through the bars again and shook his head ruefully. ”I’ve lived here all my life, and I never knew there was a church,” he said as he walked away.
Today, we had the opportunity to see it up close – Jim Brown, head of institutional relations for the Institut Catholique, within the grounds of which the church sits, invited us and the Drehers to take a tour.
The parish wasn’t blocked off or inaccessible to the public – it’s just that it’s within the grounds of the Institute, and I just didn’t take the time to figure out where the main entrance was that day.
This plaque at the head of this post isn’t in the church – it’s around the back, in the seminary garden. It’s simple, stark and direct.
This stood in another part of the garden:
….marking the first to be struck down.
Here they fell.
We went to the Louvre today. It was our second time, and I hope to work in two more times before we leave. The first time we spent our afternoon in Egyptian antiquities. Today was Italian paintings and a bit of Rome and Greece. Of course, everyone crowded around the Top Hits: the Mona Lisa, David’s Napoleon (him again??) crowning himself, the Venus de Milo and so on.
It’s all good, but these are what struck me today:
Much of the interior of St. Maurice (former) Cathedral in Mirepoix is either faded or worn down to almost bare stone, but what remains is a revelation. I don’t know when it was originally adorned in this way or what restoration attempts have been made, but it does seem to give lie to the convential wisdom about those monolithic gloomy gray blocks of stone (as if a building dancing with colored light filtered through stained glass could even be so).
(Mirepoix is known for its color in other ways: the medieval town center is marked by covered sidewalks and brightly colored buildings.)
It was lovely and quiet and still hinted at life lived here:
This was interesting, too:
What’s your guess? Mine would be pagan shenanigans of one sort or another, misappropriating the symbol.
If, after having owned a DSLR for 3 years, you STILL can’t take a decent nighttime photo…
…throw it in the B & W Tint Machine.
Looks a lot better that way. And almost as if you did it on purpose..