Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Transfiguration by Raphael

So Raphael's last work the Transfiguration has a writer for L'Obsservatore Romano in a tizzy. He thinks it ought to be returned to the church it used to hang in. This is what the author says about the work as it sits in the Vatican Museum:

"A work of sacred art placed in a museum, even with the best intentions and perhaps better protected, loses three-quarters of its verbal capacity just for the fact that it is placed outside of the context for which it was created. Today,in the Pinacoteca, the Transfiguration is only an object, still among the most excellent, lined up with many others, but devoid of the strength that came from it as part of the liturgical mystery, of the place of prayer."

So what do we know about this work? Well here is what is said about it:

The transfiguration was painted on a wooden surface over a period of four years by Raphael up until death in 1620. It used to be hung in a church (St Peter in Montorio). It has been on display in the Vatican Museums' Pinacoteca, or picture gallery, for the last 200 years.

The painting draws from St. Matthew's Gospel. In its upper portion is the Transfigured Christ with Moses and Elijah. At their feet are Peter, James, and John. In the foreground are the other Apostles and onlookers, including a possessed young man recounted in the gospel.

Giorgio Vasari, Raphael's 16th century biographer and noted artist himself, described the work as "the most famous, the most beautiful and most divine."

The bright light which encirles our Lord is meant to imitate the Eucharist.

You know, I agree with the guy from the L'Obsservatore Romano. His name is Marco Agostini. Cheers Marco. I support you.

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