Monday, 17 March 2014

More mosaics and a sunny morning in Ravenna

It's possible to buy a five-stop ticket to see the main mosaics in Ravenna. Did that yesterday - but the whole thing was so overwhelming that decide to do the same today.
Those in S ApolinnaireNuovo strike me most as they seem most human (as it were) - San Vitale is tremendous of course - but the detail seems important here.
Above is thought to be the first depiction of Satan - the blue angel to Jesus's left, behind the three goats (as in St Matthew's gospel).
Jesus here is a young, beardless man and is dressed as a Roman emperor.

Gombrich The Story of Art throws light on this cavernous place. Emperor Constantine established the Christian Church as a power in the Roman empire in 311 AD: but there were no public places of worship. These couldn't be modelled on ancient temples, as their purpose was different. The inside of a temple usually just contained a small shrine for a god. Processions and sacrifices took place outside.
A church, however, needed room for a congregation.  So they were modelled on assembly halls that were known in classical times as 'basilicas'.  These buildings were also used as market halls and law courts and were usually long narrow spaces with narrow compartments on the longer sides, divided from the main hall by columns.  Hence the barn-like space.

The Sheep and the Goats/Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 25

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did itnot to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy