One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Orvieto's Duomo" by Zbigniew Herbert

Some excerpts I highlighted in Kindle:
Robbe-Grillet, the master of inventories, would have written: "He stood in front of a cathedral. It was 100 metres long and 40 metres wide; the height of the facade along the middle axis was 55 metres." Though such description is devoid of vision, the stone proportions assure us that we are in Italy, where the soaring Gothic of the Ile-de-France was translated into a style entirely its own, but going by the same name because of the habit of chronology (according to which everything occurring at the same time must be given a common label).
The Guelph clan of the Monaldeschi fought against its Ghibelline faction, the fans of empire who were expelled from the town while the sculptors were illustrating Genesis. According to a reliable witness, the author of The Divine Comedy, both families suffer in Purgatory along with the kin of Romeo and Juliet.
Objects and men are vessels of darkness.
Finally, one must fling this blasphemy against the authors of handbooks: the Orvieto frescoes are much more impressive than Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.


The Preaching of the Antichrist, by Luca Signorelli and his school (1499-1504)
San Brizio Chapel, Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy
[From Wikimedia Commons]
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