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Art for meditation - May 2020

Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael (Urbino, Italy 1483 – Rome, Italy 1520), Madonna and Child with the Infant John the Baptist (known as Madonna of the Goldfinch), around February 1506, oil on wood, 107 cm x 77 cm, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi.

Month of May.

The peculiarity of Raphael's painting is not so much the subject (the Virgin was often represented with the little Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist) but the choice to set the scene in a completely open space. The panel was painted for Lorenzo Nasi, who wanted it in his Florence’s house on the occasion of his marriage to Sandra Canigiani, held on February 23, 1506.

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Art for meditation - April 2020

Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael (Urbino, Italy 1483 – Rome, Italy 1520), The Deposition, 1507, oil on wood, 184 cm x 176 cm, Rome, Galleria Borghese.

10 April, Good Friday. 

This beautiful painting is signed and dated (RAPHAEL URBINAS MDVII) on the rock in the bottom left corner, showing that it was an important work for the painter as well.

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Art for Mediatation - March 2020

Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael (Urbino, Italy 1483 – Rome, Italy 1520), The Annunciation, 1502-1504, tempera on panel, 27 cm x 50 cm, Vatican City, Vatican Museums.

25 March, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

This small painting is part of the predella of a large altarpiece depicting the Coronation of Mary. It is called Oddi Altarpiece because it was painted by Raphael for the altar of the Oddi family chapel in the church of San Francesco al Prato in Perugia, Italy. The painting, delivered at the beginning of the sixteenth century, is the youthful work considered the closest to the style of Perugino, the master of the great painter from Urbino.

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Art for Mediatation - February 2020

Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael (Urbino, Italy 1483 – Rome, Italy 1520), Madonna of the chair, 1513-14, oil on panel, 71 cm x 71 cm, Florence, Italy, Palatine Gallery

The size of the panel makes us think of a painting intended for private devotion. The type of chair on which the Virgin was painted (it is a "chamber chair", which was widespread in the papal court during the Renaissance) and the fact that the painting appeared in the Medici Palace in Florence a few decades after its execution lead us to suppose that it was commissioned to Raphael by Pope Leo X, of the Medici family (he was the second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent), to make a gift perhaps to his nephew Lorenzo, lord of Florence since 1516.

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Art for Mediatation - January 2020

Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael (Urbino, Italy 1483 – Rome, Italy 1520), Sistine Madonna, 1513-14, oil on canvas, 265 cm x 196 cm, Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.

1 January, Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

On 6 April 2020 will be the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael, certainly one of the absolute geniuses of the Italian Renaissance. A selection of his works will accompany us during this year, sure that the pinnacles of beauty reached by the painter from Urbino will help our reflections.

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Art for Mediatation - December 2019

santa eulalia 680

School of Francisco de Zurbarán (Fuente de Cantos, Spain 1598 – Madrid, Spain 1664), Saint Eulalia, 1640-50, 173 cm x 103 cm, oil on canvas, Seville, Spain, Museum of Fine Arts.

10 December, Memory of Saint Eulalia.

Let's start by reading some of the verses that a modern poet, Federico García Lorca, dedicated to the most famous saint in Spain, the martyr Eulalia. They are taken from one of the 18 "Romances" that constitute his most important poetic collection, Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads), published in 1928.

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Art for Mediatation - November 2019


Stefano Maderno (Capolago, Switzerland, 1576 – Rome, Italy, 1636), Saint Cecilia, 1600, marble, Rome, Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

22 November, Memory of Saint Cecilia.

The story of the beautiful statue in white marble, placed under the altar and the ciborium of the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, is closely linked to the story of the Roman martyr saint.

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Art for Mediatation - October 2019

OrsolaHans Memling (Seligenstadt, around 1436 – Bruges 1494), Saint Ursula protecting her virgin companions, 1489, oil on wood, 45.5 cm x 18 cm, Bruges, Memlingmuseum.

21 October, Memory of Saint Ursula and companions.

The history of St. Ursula is widely spread in Christian Europe and several legendary elements have been added to it. Her story is said to have taken place between the 4th and 5th centuries AD. She was probably the victim of the persecution of Diocletian or perhaps that of Attila, King of the Huns, who was quite harsh on Christians. Let us try to highlight some essential details of her life.

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Art for meditation - September 2019

madre teresa

Gjergj Kola (Durrës, 1967), Saint Teresa of Calcutta, oil on canvas.

5 September, Memory of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

It feels nice to present a painting of the great saint painted by a young compatriot of hers. When Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu - this is the family name of the one we all know as Teresa of Calcutta - died in the great Indian city, Gjergj Kola was just 30 years old and had moved 6 years before, for political reasons, to nearby Greece.

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Art for Mediatation - August 2019

murillo museo lazaro galdianoBartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville 1618 –1683), Saint Rose of Lima, around 1670, 145 cm x 95 cm, oil on canvas, Madrid, Lázaro Galdiano Museum

23 August, Memory of Saint Rose of Lima. 

The Saint, with her Dominican habit, is on her knees, contemplating the Christ Child, who is sitting on a pillow on the linen basket and is raising his left hand towards the Saint in a caressing gesture, while with his right hand he seems to give her (or is he rather taking them?) roses. From the mouth of the child comes out a Latin inscription that means: "Rose, you will be the bride of my heart." On the floor, next to the basket, there is a book and there are other roses. In the background, on the right, there is a building, which is undoubtedly the convent, partly covered by a bush of roses.

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Art for Mediatation - July 2019

Maria Maddalena

Donatello (Florence 1386 –1466), Penitent Magdalene, 1453-55, height 188 cm, poplar wood with traces of polychrome, Florence, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

22nd of July: Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene appears at the beginning of chapter 8 of Luke's Gospel: “Now it happened that after this he made his way through towns and villages preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their own resources.” And then, especially, as it is said in chapters 19 and 20 of the Gospel of John, she was at the foot of the cross, she was in the garden where they laid down the body of Jesus, and she was the first to see the risen one and ran to announce it to the apostles.

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Art for Mediatation - June 2019


Giovanni Odazzi (Rome 1663 –1731), Blessed Theresa and Sancha, 1725, oil on canvas, Rome, Church of Sant’Antonio dei Portoghesi

In Rome, a few steps from Piazza Navona and very close to the more famous Church of St. Augustine, there is a small church of the Portuguese nation, dedicated of course to St. Anthony. In it there are several paintings representing Portuguese saints and blessed, including the one we propose here, which depicts two sisters, both nuns, both blessed. Let us dwell on Theresa.

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