Tuesday, August 08, 2006

St. Francis of Assisi

St Francis said, "Preach the Gospel always--if necessary, use words."

I saw the most extraordinary painting Sunday at the Met. Caravaggio's "The Denial of Saint Peter"--a depiction of Peter, a Roman soldier, and a woman telling the soldier that Peter was one of the disciples while Peter denies it, all illuminated only by the light of a fire. The woman, by the way, reminds me of Monica Belluci, the Italian screen siren who plays Mary in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" (also the ill-fated Alex in "Irreversible"). The record should show that Caravaggio's painting is way better than Mel's movie.



Caravaggio was clearly a guy who took St. Francis' words to heart. What you can't see in the photo--and can barely see in the painting itself--is that the woman is pointing two fingers at Peter while the soldier points another. These three fingers represent the three times Peter denied Christ. Yow.

As for me? Well, canvas is a cloth, so one could say I, like Caravaggio, am a man of same. But I must admit I was gobsmacked at the intensity of the painting. Would that I could tend my flock as well as he.

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