The Navicella – An Icon of Faith

The Navicella, by Giotto di Bondone (1266/7 –1337),which illustrates the scene from St Mathew’s Gospel when St Peter walks on water towards Christ, (Mt 14:22-33) is one of St Peter’s Basilica’s most important works. This icon of faith has greeted visitors leaving the Basilica since the early 14th Century onwards. The mosaic that remains today, […]

The Nativity

  The first “living” crib was created on Christmas Eve 1223 in Greccio, Italy.  Here, St Francis of Assisi, wanted to relive the happy Bethlehem night in which the Almighty God was born, wrapped “in swaddling clothes and placed … in a manger” by His mother. (Lk 2:7) To create this profound experience, he made […]

A light that shines in the darkness

In 1610, the Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst (1592-1656) went to Rome were he was fascinated by the works of Caravaggio that were characterised by his use of darkness and light. The young artist went on to develop his own distinctive style which was also characterised by the use of light. He specialised in setting […]

The Touch of God reflected in Art

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to St Teresa of Jesus, better known as St Teresa of Avila, because her 500th anniversary celebrations open this month and will last throughout 2015. St Teresa is famous as she was the reformer of the Carmelite order. Although she entered the convent at 20 years of age, her real […]

The Madonna with Child: Our Lady of the Rosary!

Giovan Battista Salvi, otherwise known as Sassoferrato (1609-1685), is an artist of the 17th Century whose career was distinguished by the painting of great portraits and devotional images particularly of the Virgin Mary. Indeed, he is often referred to affectionately as the “painter of the Madonna’s”. His natural style, that depicted his subjects with a […]

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio

In 1603, Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, the future Pope Urban VIII, commissioned Michael Angelo Merisi, otherwise known as Caravaggio, to produce the masterpiece called “The Sacrifice of Isaac” which is now displayed in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.. As a young artist, Caravaggio learned how to paint in the workshop of Simone Peterzano by studying life forms, […]

‘Annunciation’ by Federico Barocci

Federico Barocci (circa 1535-1612 ) was one of the most highly regarded mannerist painters of the 16th Century. His works were characterised by an exceptional use of colour and the composition of his works are both beautiful and intellectually interesting. Barocci, a third order Franciscan, was a man of faith and it influenced his art. […]

A Star That Announces A Prophecy

Where? Let’s go below the ground to look at the Churches first historic archive, to relive the authentic message of the Creed of the first Christians. We descend into St Priscilla’s Catacombs in the Via Salaria, Rome. The Catacombs are a place of rest. In naming their burial grounds the first Christians used a vocabulary […]

Our Faith is Written on the Stone!

At the heart of the Pio Clementine collection in the Vatican Museums is the famous sarcophagus known as the ‘ dogmatic sarcophagus’ or simply the ‘dogmatico’. It is a masterpiece of early Christian sculpture from Rome dated to approx. 325-340 AD. Every part of the sculpted funeral monument in some way testifies to the Faith […]

Three Fingers To Remove the Veil of Time

In the Church of Saint Mary in Vallicella in Rome, the home of the Oratorian Congregation founded by St Philip Neri between 1602 and 1604, Michaelangelo Merisi, otherwise known as Caravaggio, was commissioned by the Vittrici family to paint an altar piece depicting one of the sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary: the death of […]