Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cathedral Bergamo Italy

Dear Art-loving friend,
My last post for a while on the city of Bergamo, Italy:  This is mostly about the Cathedral there.  I must admit that I had to do a search on Google:  What’s the difference between a Cathedral and a Basilica?”  [See my previous post for images of the Basilica in Bergamo.]    

A “basilica” is a word of Roman origin and describes a large public building used for business.  Later, the Christians (Catholics) adopted the word for their own use as a title for a specific kind of church.  Hmmm… interesting connection!  In any event, today the Catholics use this word as a title signifying rank.  There are different levels of basilicas, apparently, but the highest rank is that of Cathedral (“Duomo” in Italian). 

The designation “cathedral” tells you that the bishop of the local order has a throne inside of that church or basilica. The origin of that word is French and Latin and refers to the “seat” or “chair.”  It is the home church for the bishop of that region.  The terms 'basilica" and "cathedral" need not overlap, but they often do.  However, there is only one Duomo in each city, that I have ever come across at least.  [I am certainly no expert on many things Christian or Catholic, including how the boundaries of diocese are drawn.]

In any event, both a basilica and a cathedral / duomo are worth a visit if you are a lover of art.  The Cathedral of Bergamo offers a few things I have never or rarely seen in a church.  Enjoy these images, with a few captions where I thought the image could benefit.  I start here with the outside view of the Cathedral.  I enjoy the composition of dark bronze with light stone.

There was a calming simplicity to the compositions in the Duomo that I found eased my senses, as compared to the nearby Basilica.

I do not recall having seen a marble carving of a decapitation WITHIN a Duomo before.  I assume this is Judith.  Her image is a favorite with Italians, a strong woman (innocence and physical weakness) overcomes a mightier and evil strength... the female version of David, if you like.  Hers was an act that was certainly more personally courageous (to cut off a head up close vs. kill from a distance with a stone).  Both are horrible, but it is a brutal world, isn't it?

So many colorful marbles!  Dizzyingly spectacular mosaic work, even in 3-D!

It is not often that one sees a bed in a cathedral.  This unusual aerial perspective on a very large painting employs a dramatic diagonal (implying action) and good placement of the bright blues to surround the subject.  The angel in subdued light and the raised arm of the holy figure near the center are just two of the compositional pointers to the center of one's attention.  And interesting "Z" of light... I enjoy this compositional idea.

The foreground is the open section above a staircase on either side of the main altar (in the background).  The stairs lead to a burial place below the altar (see later image).  I saw this type of architectural arrangement in the strange (Mayan?) type design of the ancient Duomo in Castelvecchio, Italy, beside where I carved stone in a symposium during the summer of 2013.

"Watch out for the stairs, for there is a danger of falling."  I am not sure why I find these icons so adorable.

I found this room under the altar to be a bit freaky.  But then, each day while I paint, I have been listening to audiobooks of the vampire series by Anne Rice.  This room would be a great scene for a book and I wondered if vampires would feel protected, sleeping here by day in the house of the faithful.

Since this is the Cathedral, that must be the throne of the Bishop.  I liked the addition of a contemporary design of the chairs beautifully added to the splendor of times past.

I took this snapshot since it reminds me of my niece Alexis, who has been flashing the two fingers of peace since birth.

This image of the pink stone lions is actually around the entrance to the Basilica, very nearby the Cathedrale.  However, I had so many images in my last post, I was afraid to add more.

And finally another external view of the complex that includes the Basilica (the Cathedral is on my right, facing away from me here).  It is so easy to be transported through time with architecture such as this. 

If you are interested in learning more about the origins and history of the words to describe the architecture and uses of the words “basilica” and “cathedral,” these links would be a fun place to start:

Thank you for reading.  I hope you enjoy these efforts of my musings and my images.
Yours in art,
Kelly Borsheim

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Kevin Marshall said...
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