Monday, December 29, 2014

The Eternal Power of Religious Art at Christian Churches

By Rachel Spence
Cima de Conegliano’s ‘The Baptism of Christ’
ITALY---For many years, I lived minutes away from the Church of San Giovanni in Bragora in the Castello district of Venice. Nothing about its humble brick façade hinted at the presence within of a magnificent altarpiece: “The Baptism of Christ” by Cima da Conegliano.  To my art-historical eye, the gnarled branches, sage-green turf and translucent water summoned the detail-obsessive ghosts of the Flemish painters. But when my neighbour Maria looked at the painting, she had a different experience. When she went to Mass every Sunday she experienced “The Baptism” not as a work of art but as a conduit for her prayers. “When I see Him, I feel protected,” she said to me. [link]