Art as an expression of religiosity


‘Medieval communities used to live organised by territory, under conditions of quasi-ideal equilibrium. Life evolved slowly, enabling men to come out with their own personalities, in a cultural dimension which knew how to give value to the resources deriving from its many activities. Life was conceived as an intimate synthesis of its natural aspect, expressed by the sacrality of work and by its transcendent content, expressed through faith by the need to embrace each gesture into a deep and felt sense of religiosity. All human activities had the same value because they were all the synthesis of a life which was suffered and offered, known and loved, to the point of becoming a precise aim, ground for serving and source of hope. Building a cart to transport heavy goods was considered to be an art of as high a level as the ability to drive it, called «Arte theatrica»; experience, intuition and skill were as indispensable here as they would be for the sailor, mastering the art of navigation. The great monuments built for social purposes, such as cathedrals, town halls, hospitals, gave the chance to stress that conception of life in which everybody so clearly believed. Hence, the belltower of the cathedral of Florence presents, in its 26 reliefs, the mosaic of human resources, in a variety and particularity which complete the picture of such a balanced and coherent life. The cycles of representation are interconnected in order to create the concept of continuity of life, although the themes of each cycle tend to illustrate more specifically the peculiarity of the section. The cycle on genesis recalls the origins of tradition to give meaning to life as an evolutionary process which benefits from previous experiences. The cycle on manual activities precedes that on speculative and scientific activities, which are then followed by that on creative activities. The last cycle recalls to the order and religiousity of life, displaying the sacraments and the theologal and cardinal virtues. The importance of these representations was considered so indispensable for the meaning as «symbol of life» given to the belltower, that all the reliefs damaged by the weather were replaced straight away, without worrying about the difference in style due to the difference in time of production. It must be specified that the decision to display the casts taken from the originals rather than a series of photographs of the reliefs, in order for the interpretation of the works themselves to be more immediate and direct. Deliberately avoiding suggestive photography has helped the exhibition to adhere more closely to the nature of the ancient technique of bas-relief, which can offer, even now, the spiritual richness of a world, which we rediscover to be so close to the Truth of life.’


21 Agosto 1982 - 29 Agosto 1982


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions