Friday, April 21, 2017

Life In Pictures

It is true that at times a picture can say more than a thousand words. In communication we have landed in the age of Emojis. People can now have entire conversations by listing a series of pictures of faces with expressions or symbols. Communicating with pictures have been around since the drawings from cave dwellers and then we have the gorgeous frescos and sculptures from all over the world that clearly said messages to us all too. Even the photos of the recent Presidents at the White House Easter Egg Hunt showed a multitude of messages.  Last year Obama was seen in just a dress shirt kneeling down to hug some children during the event. This year Trump was in his suit and tie signing his signature red baseball caps and throwing them at children and hit a child in the face with one and continued to walk by. A picture at times can say a thousand words about one’s character too.
Unfortunately we have ISIS that is on a mission to destroy all the pictures and art work that has been offered to all humans for generations. The extremists have already destroyed most of the art in the Middle East and burned historic books there. This week they tried to destroy the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Elysees  in France. Before all evidence of the past is destroyed, spend time admiring the messages around the world depicted in sculpture and art from the master craftsmen while it is still being offered to the public for general viewing. Visit Italy one of the homes of great pictures that have clear messages about their religious leaders and the creation of life in general from the Biblical point of view. You don’t have to believe to enjoy.
If you love art or history or are one of the billion Catholics the world over, all roads lead to the Vatican. Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world. It is just 110 acers tucked in the middle of Rome, Italy. It has fewer than 1,000 residents but the place welcomes six million visitors from all over the world each year. Most go to enjoy the gorgeous pictures in the magnificent Vatican Museums and churches. Saint Peters Basilica is a marvel of great architecture and pictures. It is a monument to the life of Saint Peter who in the images and building tells the story of Peter who is at the center of it all architecturally, spiritually   and literally. It is all centered around  the tomb of Saint Peter which is located under the golden globe in the church.
Peter was the fisherman Apostle and the first Pope that was later crucified by the Roman Emperor Nero in 64 A.D. The Basilica was started to be built in 1506 and was the work of 12 architects and a wealth of artistic masters. Serving 20 Popes over the course of over 120 years thankfully the place is still here and hasn’t been destroyed. Art by Bellini and Michelangelo is displayed. Sculpted from a single piece of marble is his picture of the Pieta. Mother Mary is sorrowfully holding her dead son Jesus. Pieta is the Latin and Italian word for compassion, something Trump could use a bit more of. A few years after Michelangelo finished that sculpture he began work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel of which every inch is a picture of the story of life and death. It is the place where Cardinals meet to elect new Popes.
There was a decision in 1780 to open the Vatican Museums to the general public. There is even a painting of Pope Pius VI there who opened the museums giving a tour to King Gustaf  the lll of Sweden who were religiously on opposite sides of the spectrum.  You don’t have to be Catholic to marvel at the tapestries and art that tells a story in pictures. There is art work showing Muslims wearing turbans in the same room as Jesus. The museums there comprise some of the largest collections in the world housed in 3 and a half miles of beauty. Now the focus is on conservation, restoration and preservation. Americans pay for much of the restoration through the Patrons of the Arts Program. Has Trump gotten his hands into destroying that Program too?
ISIS needs to know that works of art belong to the entire world and not to any particular religious belief. They are pictures without words a universal thing to feast all eyes upon.
Korea Bergogilo was a Cardinal from Argentina who later became our present loved Pope Francis. He is the first Pope to take the name of Saint Francis. In the hills of Umbria, Italy there is the hometown of the saint. This saint preached to love brother son and sister moon and the beauty of all creation. Francis  became  blind yet he wrote about the beauty of earth he remembered. The remarkable story of the saint that inspired our Pope is depicted in pictures on every inch of space in the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. The pictures tell the story of Francis who was the son of a wealthy merchant who gave all his wealth away to the poor. No words to tell that story. It is simply life in pictures. Today our lives are being told in Emojis and in photographs hidden in our smart phones that usually disappear when our devises die. Enjoy life in art and sculpture from the past while you still can.

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