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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:48

Pozzo, Saint Ignatius Chapel, Il Gesù

Video transcript

this is the st. Ignatius Chapel ceiling lesha's of Loyola and in his memory before he'd actually been proclaimed essentially the church was dedicated and then when he was beatified and then canonized in 1622 another entire church was built with his name Santa not Co which is nearby this Chapel celebrates his relationship to God it's an explosion of light precious material gold lapis lazuli silver bronze and precious marbles and what we see is basically a painting enshrined in a great table and when the painting shows at st. Ignatius before God Himself is kneeling in his black habit before the figure of Christ and he's holding a banner bright red banner with the name of Jesus on it as it were presenting supplicating before God to be admitted to heaven and the most extraordinary thing about this is that it's actually a theatrical mechanism in very recent years this has been restored and is functioning once again and generally speaking at 5:30 p.m. daily the painting at the culmination of a 15 to 20 minute sound and light show lowers itself the painting slides down gradually like a piece of theatrical machinery into the ground below the altar and reveals a flame size but much larger than life-size statue of st. Ignatius it's as if to say he has now died and gone to heaven and above the whole figure I'm surrounded by angels is an image of the Holy Trinity so this is baroque scenery and baroque theatricality and its finest and if they called it a machina back in those days a machine the entire tabernacle is even on this dim day is beautifully illuminated all of the incredibly reflective qualities of the gold of the semi-precious stones really reflecting light but if you look at the image itself it's so interesting because below the main scene you have what seemed like the representation of the four main continents of Africa of the new world corners of the world as they call them then and in the Church of st. Ignatius Church a few blocks from here we have a similar though much larger painting on the ceiling in fresco of that theme of Ignatius is worth teaching faith of the Jesuits extending to the four parts of of them and what as they emerge reminds one that the era of colonialism and a lot of the money that's coming to the church and to Europe at this time is from from the colonies and evangelization the statutes behind is not the original statute part of it is but the great solid silver and gold parts were melted down when Napoleon invaded Italy 1798 and also to pay for the troops they also burned a lot of the tapestries in the Vatican so they get the precious gold and silver thread out of them but this was then remade the early nineteenth century and it still stands as a piece of absolutely wonderful precious material I would add that between the gilded bronze shafts of those columns are lots of pieces of lapis lies with England lattices ultramarine blue it's one of the richest materials that we know it's still the most expensive coloring painting I can actually use it for painting the Last Judgement ground up it comes from Afghanistan but it is also highly expensive it's three times the price of gold three times the family we've done when the painting comes down and the sculpture is revealed there's also musical accompaniment so there's a very sensual experience