Thursday, 23 May 2013

A quote by Saint Bernardino of Siena, 15th cent.

"Eternity appears in time, immensity in measurement, the Creator in the creature...the unfigurable in the figure, the unnarratable in discourse, the inexplicable in speech, the uncircumscribable in the place, the invisible in vision."

Saint Bernardino of Siena, quoted in Fra Angelico: Dissemblance and Figuration by Georges Didi-Huberman.

This discusses the nature of the paradox of the Incarnation, and the visibility of the 'Divine'. It also shows the thought process painters have/had to go through in considering how to represent holy figures in paintings, conveying the divine and unknowable whilst making it tangible and accessible to worshippers and church-goers.
Renaissance artists (and all artists conveying holy stories from the Bible, Apocrypha or otherwise) conveyed the divine message in different ways; Fra Angelico steps on the thin line between Renaissance and International Gothic, using mathematical perspective, a single light source, cast shadows and pairing this with refinement, detail, decoration. However all of this is only ever used to further the narrative, to form a "spiritual exercise", an "aid to meditation". It's fascinating how his faith is clearly shown through the painting, his desire to convey spiritual calmness and holiness.

Revising Art History can be interesting, or rather can lead to interesting distractions.

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