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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