Beautiful new painting: “St Pius V and St. Charles Borromeo defending Catholicism against Islam and the Protestant Heresy.”

Even as I repeat my plea to everyone on our side of the continuum to work together – amicably and patiently – at Rorate I found a wonderful image of a beautifully painted modern canvass.  They picked it up – felicitously – from Il Foglio.

Behold, Giovanni Gasparro’s “St Pius V and St. Charles Borromeo defending Catholicism against Islam and the Protestant Heresy.” HERE Oil on canvass 220×160 cm (it’s big!), 2017.

This is a splendid find.

The composition is circular overall, with interior square and triangle above. There are great lines slashing downward. For example, follow the vector from the celestial hand (divine? Mary’s?) delivering the Rosary to Pope St. Pius, through the extended pointing arm of the putto, through the parchment of 95 Theses, down Luther’s clenched fist the hog’s leg. The banner with the Crucifix separates the 95 Theses (on fire!) and the Koran. Luther and the Islamic figure (Mohammad?) have unattractive infernal “halos”. The postures are pretty much standard and reminiscent of 16th and 17th predecessors, but that doesn’t make them any less pleasing to the eye. And the work is very fine indeed. The delightful putti give be the impression of being real children.  I wonder if they aren’t the commissioner’s or painters kids or grandchildren.  Sincere kudos.

I read that this was commissioned by a layperson. Perhaps for the 500th anniversary? Who knows.  At the article in Il Foglio the writer says, after mentioning the Vatican postal stamp honoring Luther and Melancthon and the “infatuation” some clerics have developed about the revolt, “dove cedono i preti resistono i pittori…. where priests are caving in, painters are holding out…”.

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  1. Credoh says:

    Wow! What an artist! I’m so glad that someone can still paint so beautifully in a classical style and make it relevant and accessible. His Christ the King stopped me in my tracks… Deo Gratias!

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    Sorry, but I find it bombastic and crude.

    Good, but not genuinely notable technique.

  3. Benedict Joseph says:

    Not only pleasing to the eye, but cognitive relief as well.
    There is little doubt that the decomposition of the arts presaged that the academy, the liturgy and of ecclesial life in general — authentic art necessitating command of humanity’s form and color, value, material/medium, and thoughtful engagement with belief and vision — the truth, with history.
    Apparently the light still really does shine in the darkness!
    Quite a contrast to the infamous mural commissioned for a cathedral outside of Rome and “executed” by the local hairstylist featuring the local color.

  4. Traductora says:

    Love it, love it, love it! Dante placed Mohammed in Hell because Dante considered him a schismatic who had destroyed Christendom. This is because Islam is a syncretist cult, developed by its warlord founder for his convenience, since it joins bits of Christianity – Arian Christianity, that is – bits of Judaism (mostly Mosaic and even pre-Mosaic law and practices) and paganism, reflected in the obsession with sex. This was supposed to make it easier for Mohammed’s Arab bands to subdue the local populace of places they conquered.

    The Arabs were pagans united under him on an ethnic basis, and Arabs are still privileged in Islam. They were nomadic, pagan, camel-train raiders with no culture of their own, but with the fall of Rome, they were finally getting to attack the more advanced and wealthier pagan/Christian societies of Persia and Baghdad – not to mention the Jewish inhabitants of these places. The reason that Mohammed attacked the Jews in particular is that they were the historic enemies of paganism, and that even the simplest practiced and knew the Law. Christians were attacked, but Arianism and the many heresies it spawned had weakened Christianity enormously in the East and had divided it from the West, which had successfully fended off Arianism.

    Martin Luther was different only in the fact that his cult was all about himself (and sex, as usual) but turned out to be of great use to the German petty nobility that wanted to overthrow the Church because it was too restrictive of their power. But basically, it was the same thing. Destroy Christendom and do what you want.

  5. FrAnt says:

    What is the significance of the pig? If it relates to Islam, I understand. But if it relates to Luther, I’m not so sure.

  6. ThankyouB16 says:

    Thank you for getting a discussion going on this. I was looking at the artist’s website; there are neoclassical-like religious paintings, and pretty cool surrealist stuff too. The mysterious, disembodied hand features in a lot of the work.

    I was pondering this painting and wondering:
    What is Luther holding–a string with bells? I don’t understand.
    Why the pig? It seems to contain a sexual image (?). A nod to Luther’s theology as fit for pigs–i.e. the story (true or legend?) of Luther bragging that he could commit adultery many times and not lose salvation, as long as he still had faith? (Takes on a new meaning in these days of Amoris, huh?)

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    It is a beautiful and powerful work. I hope it travels, because I’d love to see it.

  8. padredana says:

    I would very much like a print of this.

  9. Ave Crux says:

    I’ve seen his other artwork; it’s astounding in its realism and artistic excellence ….prodigious talent.

    The artist is very young. Only in his 30’s.

  10. jltuttle says:

    I had no idea there were still artists who could paint like that. Magnificent!

  11. Benedict Joseph says:

    Someday I will remember this machine gives you access to everything.
    Treat yourselves to Giovanni Gasparro’s web site.
    There is a lot to see. How good God is to give us an artist of such vision and craft.

  12. Ylonila del Mar says:

    During the lifetime of these two saints, Christendom saw the eruption of Luther’s Revolt and the Battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman Turks. I doubt the dagger-wielding warrior on the lower-left could be Mohammad but some certain prominent Ottoman maybe. As for the pig with Luther, I guess it’s a reference to how the Judensau sculptures of Jews sucking on a pig that adorn Lutheran churches. Although much of them were created even when these churches were still Catholic, Martin Luther upped the ante of course with his vicious intolerance of the Jews.

  13. otsowalo says:

    At first glance, it thought Pope St. Pius V was going to whip Luther and the Muhammedan with the Rosary (effectively and literally making it a weapon).

  14. fishonthehill says:

    Awesome! The pig… Porcus Saxioniae… reference to Luther

  15. Marius2k4 says:

    Traductora, I really need a way to thumb up responses on here.

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