Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sacred art, reunited with its religious intent

By Nancy Nathan Special To The Washington Post
This arched hall contains 15th-century choir lofts, carved by Luca Della Robbia and Donatello, that were originally in the Duomo. Photo by Nancy Nathan.
FLORENCE, Italy - The label on the atrium wall of Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which first opened in 1891 gets right to the new museum's effort to put the works of art into their original, religious context: "Christians call the area between a Baptistery and its related church a Paradiso, evoking the joy of those who, after receiving baptism, cross that space to participate in the Eucharist for the first time." That description was written by a man with a mission, the museum's director and visionary, Monsignor Timothy Verdon, a native of Weehawken, New Jersey.  Verdon follows in ancient footsteps. Perhaps Verdon is Florence's outsider who gets its art right. [link]
Verdon said he began to perceive a religious message in art when he was in high school in New Jersey and played hooky in Manhattan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he "fell in love." In particular, Verdon remembers spending many hours transfixed by the messages contained in Vittore Carpaccio's early-16th-century painting, "The Meditation on the Passion."