Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Monte Cassino Part II

I wanted to share more photos the Stoic One took when we were in Monte Cassino. The treasures that were saved from the bombing in WWII are fantastic, but really the display is equally notable. The curator of this museum not only edited the treasures with a fine hand, but also had a delightful sense of color and fun in their display.

Remember, this is underground of a Benedictine monastery. To use these colors to display the art is genius.

This is an example of the art that is displayed on the walls. You are looking at inlaid marble, cut perfectly in ornate floral design. We saw this in a workshop in Florence and is called commesso fiorentino..The stones must all be natural colors of the marble. We were told the hardest color in marble to find is the blue. Note how little of the blue there is in the work. The artisan must not only have a remarkable knowledge of stone, but also a very steady hand for cutting and piecing together the marble so that it stays in place with no mortar or glue. If you rub your hand over it, which we did not do, it is perfectly flat and seamless. Truly remarkable.

These are book covers worked in silver and leather. They covered the Missal for mass.Note the blue that they used for the background and now note the color of the sky outside. Not quite the same but...

Even the photographs of the monastery after the bombing were poignantly displayed. As you walk through the room, you got a total experience of the devastation but also of people with picks and shovels working to put it back together.

This is not just about the art. The monastery is a religious site. I have been to many religious places in Italy, but for me, this was the most spiritual place I have visited. I encourage you to take time from your trip to Rome to visit.

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