July 29, 2010

Light on the Hand of a Saint

When strolling around in Saint Peter's Basilica, it is hard for me not to get overwhelmed by all the art. There are of course the paintings, the sculptures, the carvings, but also the building itself, the walls, the floors, the ceilings; wherever I turn my eyes, there I see beauty created by the hands of men for the glory of their God. 

My own favorite is Michelangelo's Pieta; however I saw it personal and up close when it was in Florence in the mid-80s, and now this masterpiece is barricaded and secured behind glass. Just not the same.

On a more recent visit I was stunned by this sight of the Throne of Saint Peter by Bernini (1666) at the west end of the basilica. In this dark photo, the four church fathers are barely visible at the bottom, while the bright sunlight coming in from the window so vividly illuminates the pointing finger of Saint Elijah:

 Vatican, Italy, 2007

Elijah of Israel is many things to many people. He was a prophet of the 9th century BC, and he appears in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Mishnah, New Testament and the Qur'an, as well as in numerous other faiths. He even shows up in folkloric traditions as "Elijah the Thunderer" - responsible for summer storms, hail, rain and thunder. Catholics and Lutherans commemorate him as a saint with a feast day on July 20.

But lest you fear I will leave you with only the hand, here is a photo of the imposing statue of Saint Elijah by Agostino Cornacchini, 1727.


This entry is posted for the theme LIGHT for Brian & team's Theme Thursday. The link will take you to other links of creative interpretations of the theme.

Click on a photo to enlarge it.

16 comments:

tony said...

Italian Churches always seem so Dark Inside.Which make the outside light seem even more powerful to the Eye.

Brian Miller said...

what a cool place...love the artwork in old churches...wonder if the light on the finger was telling us something...smiles. happy tt!

CrazyasaCoolFox said...

I have that same feeling when visiting Trinity Church on Copley Square in Boston. Although its not on the same scale as St. Peters, it is glorious none the less. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my crazy blog.:)
PS I'm getting a lot of hits from the Philippines. Thanks to everybody there!:)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

that first photo is a stunner - tis absolutely enLIGHTENING

thanks for dropping in at the mouse.

Gabriela Abalo said...

Great take on the theme!

I love your 1st pic! :)

James said...

Beautiful shots. I like the way you captured the light. I hope to go to Italy someday.

tapirgal said...

Francisca, that is totally stunning! I also loved wandering in St. Peter's, but was so tired by that point, I could barely think of how to adapt the camera for the low light. This is just breathtaking.

JM said...

Both shots are wonderful, Francisca!
I've never ben there.

Tom said...

probably will never get to see these things in person, but DC has statues like this..hundreds--they are an amazing sight.

Monkey Man said...

Love the historical perspective and the light play in the photos. Great TT.

RA said...

Stunning! History combined with light... there's a dish I cannot resist. :)

Me said...

Lovely photos. One day I hope to make the trek to Europe to see a little history/art myself. Photos always leave me with a longing to see the real thing...

Thanks for stopping by & commenting on my TT as well. :)

-C

T. Becque said...

I just read your bio, how wonderful to have traveled so much! When I grow up I want to do the same :) I like these photos with the light and "hand".

Hilda said...

I'm speechless. Magnificent church and photos! The hair on my arm's standing because of the lighting. I wonder if this was deliberate.

Kaori said...

The light and shadows in the last photo is simply stunning!

Joanne said...

What a magnificent shot of the statue of Saint Elijah!