Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Favorite Artworks in San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains), Roma

The last Roman institution in the list of those I visited in 2000 is another church - San Pietro in Vincoli, or Saint Peter in Chains.  The main draw there were the relic of the chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem - the true chains.  It was a delicate thing in the Reliquary.  It had historical or fantastical values, depending your value on its authenticity.

For the indisputable artistic masterpiece, there was Michelangelo Buonarroti's marble sculpture Moses, the centerpiece of the unfinished tomb design for Pope Julius II, commissioned in 1505, depicting the Biblical character Moses, seated, with two templates under right arm, looking sharply towards afar, with horns on his head, based on a description in the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible used at that time.

The character was alert, intelligent, and sinuous.  An utterly unforgettable image.  Despite the fact that Michelangelo didn't finish his whole design, this finished Moses was finished in every details and though I regretted that I couldn't see the whole project in its entirety, I could not think of any improvement of this monumental statue.  Mountain like immobile, this Moses was a rich mine of wisdom and strength.

The other piece there left me a strong impression was the fresco by Paris Nogari - Freeing St Peter From Prison.  It had marvelous dynamic composition, full of light and dark contrast and the ensuring mystique.  This, naturally, paled comparing to the more famous one in the Vatican by Raphael, which had an additional otherworldly nightmarish feelings.  But this lack of that particular weight did not rob the beauty of this minor masterpiece and the poignancy of seeing it in the church which also contained the relic of those chains.  Particularly interesting were the expressions and gestures of those guards in the foreground, while the Raphael's piece had clearly focus on the central characters - the Angel and St Peter.

Freeing St Peter From Prison, Paris Nogari, San Pietro in Vincoli, Roma - 500

My Favorite Museum Collection Series

>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 15: My Favorite Artworks at the Galleria dell'Accademia Firenze
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 13: My Favorite Artworks at Basilica Sancti Petri (Papal Basilica of Saint Peter)

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited


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