On TV2000 a journey through spiritual art to discover the "Santa Bellezza" – Rome
Interior of the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza in Rome. Courtesy Tv2000
It begins from these considerations the research de La Santa Bellezza the journey in spiritual art of the Jesuit, artist and theologian Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, a path in eight episodes that, starting from Sunday, September 16th at 8.30pm, it will bring on TV2000 the symbolic and liturgical language of Christian art, from the earliest expressions of civilization to the modern age .
When art comes out of museums, from the archaeological sites and encyclopedias to enter the small screen, surprise your eyes and talk to the soul of the people, it is always good news. And that's why the choice made by Tv2000 and its outgoing director Paolo Ruffini – Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for communication – to welcome the program conceived by Monica Mondo, is already in itself a winner.
first episode, entitled The Pharaoh and the Good Shepherd premiered at the Vatican Film Library and which will air on Sunday, September 16th. At the center of this first itinerary are the tomb of Nebamon, the Nike of Samothrace and the statue of the Good Shepherd.
If in the Egyptian and Greek cultures man elaborates a vision of himself and the world by fixing the canons of a beauty based on the perfection of forms, the Christian one, for the first time, creates highly symbolic images.
Father Rupnik, using the Scriptures and interesting winks of the classical etymology, focuses on the themes, the meanings and the interpretations of some works, citing for example an example of iconography, the statue of the Good Shepherd depicted in the Christian catacombs and sarcophagi , where the god Hermes is taken as a model for the image of Christ who saves the lost sheep.
This is not a historical-notional journey, but of a careful, profound, extremely clear and unpredictable reading, framed not by a television studio, but by the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza in Rome – where "when we filmed it was an ontological cold" Rupnik jokes – and where, evoked by the theologian, words and images materialize on the walls of the basilica, generating suggestive and alienating effects, finding their score in a musical background modern and unexpected.
"Art – he comments – is a space for meeting man and life, crossing the threshold of mystery. it registers the path, but also a dragon, which is not easy to ride, but sometimes when you become an artist you exaggerate, which is why art is considered a service rather than an expression of ourselves. 'art that Christians leave behind, like the saints and martyrs that remain. "
From the second episode entitled Plato or the pani and the fishes the journey in eight episodes will continue with the exploration of Laocoonte in comparison with the Phoenician Araba, will touch the Romanesque sculpture and the torn will, the summer solstice that – with its points of light projected on the floor – scans the path to the altar in the French basilica of Santa Maria Maddalena in Vézelay one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture. From the mystical mill – one of the most famous capitals of the Vézelay Basilica, and at the same time the heart of the Christian mentality – the itinerary will then lead spectators to the top of all time. And here, in the seventh episode, the art of classical Greece and masterpieces of the Renaissance with the genius of Michelangelo who knew how to infuse messages of high theological value in works like the Creation of Adam on the vault of the Sistine Chapel .
To conclude the story of La Santa Bellezza will be "The branch of almond tree" in which Father Rupnik will draw a summary of the previous appointments, identifying, through new figurative examples, the subtle textures that connect prehistoric art with contemporary art
"The project – explains Paolo Ruffini – arises from a question about our time that has lost the sense of the sacred and of beauty , turning too many things into idols and being content with surrogates ".
There is a question that (who knows) will probably find an answer at the end of the journey. "Are we at the dawn of a new spring, a time when man will once again give primacy to life?"
So you just have to wait to browse the first page of this unprecedented journey to discover the most authentic essence of beauty.