Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Great Switch

Today marks a very important day in the lives of those on this trip. I never would have thought art could create such emotion and a spiritual change in an entire group. 
Today we woke up and had to leave early to the Villa Borghese. It was a long fast walk uphill most of the way. We crossed the first park type area in the city that we have seen yet. 
Once inside the villa we were lead further in awe of the art that we are so blessed to be able to see on this trip. There was a Caravagio piece that took my breath away. It was of the Madonna and child and another woman. Jesus was not a young babe in this painting though, he was in his younger years probably around 4 or 5. Mary is holding his arms back to balance him up. The power of the piece came through in the bottom of the frame. Mary had her foot on the serpent while Jesus had his foot on top of hers... This doesn't sound all that amazing because words cannot describe all of this painting. The symbolism to the serpent and all of the stories and prophesies in the bible was great. I could have stood their all day. But I moved on... I went to the other rooms and I found the pieces that would take our group by storm. 
Bernini had three super powerful pieces in the villa. The first we came across was the Rape of Persephanis (sp?). Here his work on the marble was beyond anything I have ever seen. The sculptures were so realistic and full of emotion you couldn't help but stare from every angle and try and do something about the situation. Then I moved to the next room where the piece was of Apollo and Daphne. This piece brought Mark to tears and made the group rethink their lives. Initially the marble work makes you want to say, "SHUT UP! This is NOT real marble!!! No WAY!" Then you look closer, realize it's real, and you are taken aback by the faces and the agony exposed. Again the story of this piece made it 10 times more amazing. Bernini has a great ability to capture the moment and emotion of that moment that makes a person contemplate... not just walk past. The next piece he had was my favorite of all. It was of David right as he was about to throw the stone and kill Goliath. David had great moments of his life but none as great as this. The marble was so intricately crafted, David's face was amazing and full of determination. I couldn't stop contemplating how David is so much like us... he had a great moment but he also had bad ones and he has to live with both. It's a great example of how we cannot let our poor moments determine the way we live the remainder of our lives. Redemption, though we fail, God is their with open arms. 
This may not have been what everyone else got from the work today but there was a change. The feelings provoked we no longer surface appreciation, there was a change and an awe that overtook the group. What a wonderful thing to experience with those who appreciate these things! 
The rest of the day was spent doing some more walking, checking out the Jewish Ghetto, and walking along the river. It was a good day. 

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