It didn’t matter where we’ve come from – from east, west, north or south – which language was that we called our mother tongue, which was the colour of our skin or the shape of our eyes – there was something we all shared at that moment. A feeling of wowness, a feeling of smallness. Jaws dropping in complete astonishment. But in that place, it was much more than that. It was about veneration. I think this is where the difference actually is – while some marvelled at what they believed to be the work of God, others marvelled to what they knew to be the work of men.
We can argue it was religion or the faith in the existence of a God which inspired such things as St. Peter’s Basilica. Despite preaching humbleness, Christianity also brought upon us eccentricity. St. Peter’s Basilica is a magnanimous construction, huge in its physical dimensions and incredibly rich on its insides. Indeed thoroughly and intrinsically decorated, it’s hard for the eyes of simple humans like ourselves not to be in awe with such vision, almost believing a supernatural power did indeed intervened – as if it was a prelude for Heaven itself.
When I think about my visit to the basilica, what comes to my mind is the gold. Inside it, it’s golden hour any time of the day. There is so much gold everywhere that I couldn’t even fandom the value of it. It is indeed beyond eccentric – it is luxurious, a vanity fair.
My mind was very set on my own ideas – religion has inspired magnificent works of art, but all of them came from the minds of men. And that is what inspires me – the ability of men, with so many limited resources, to be able to design and build such splendor out of respect for a religion or out of fear for the other men who perpetrated it.
When we speak about Rome in the XV century, we are talking about a place where the Papacy was government, and quite often a tyrannic one. Religion was their way to make sure peasants remained peasants, their vaults would increasingly fill with gold, their bed would continue to receive multiple concubines. The true God was the same that it is today – money. Perhaps in a different shape, colour and currency. Money was power, and the people’s ignorance was the food to keep that wheel rolling.
The greatest artists contributed to the artwork in the basilica – Michelangelo, Bernini, Rafael. Which is for me why is such a huge attraction. I cannot deny how much the Church contributed to sponsor such talents and bring upon us the most fantastic works of art of the world.
The Dome of the Basilica can be seen from everywhere in Rome, as if making a point. Contrary to what most people think, this is not considered a Cathedral as it is not the headquarters of a bishop. However, it is still considered one of the most important churches in the catholic world and, due to its gigantic dimensions, it is the place where the Pope conducts more ceremonies.
What are your views on this? Would love to hear your thoughts.
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