Friday, April 10, 2009

Carrying the Cross by Lorenzo Lotto


Yesterday, my husband and I visited Atlanta's High Museum. It was his birthday, and he especially wanted to see the The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army exhibit. That was grand. However, an added bonus was the Louvre Atlanta: The Louvre and the Masterpiece. This title is the third part in the third year of the Louvre Atlanta exhibit at the High (family name, so there is not a Low Museum). In the masterpiece discussion, it is described as a lost and found. It mostly likely had hung in a church for some two to three hundred years until someone moved it. Having been laid aside, wrapped in a cloth in the church for more than a hundred years, it was discovered obscured in dust and grime. Once it was cleaned and restored, it was recognized to be a lost masterpiece by Lorenzo Lotto. It belongs to the Louvre and hangs in the same gallery with the Mona Lisa when it is not touring.
I stood before this painting quite some time. I studied it closely and played the corresponding narrative for it twice. The image I am using here is from the official Louvre website.
Reflecting on the history of the painting reminded me that we often allow the perfect and beautiful and sacred aspects of our lives to become obscured with the dust and grime of the years. We may set them aside and even forget them. Easter is about renewing, refreshing, and reclaiming ourselves and all that is good about the human experience---about the profound and mystical meaning of Carrying the Cross.

11 comments:

willow said...

This is an amazing painting...the emotion, as well as the composition. I like your comparison of hiding the beautiful and sacred aspects of our lives, just like this wonderful piece of art was hidden in obscurity all those years.

How lucky you were to see this marvelous piece in person! Happy Easter to you and yours. x

Sandra Leigh said...

What a beautiful painting, especially (for me) the soldier's arm. That must be a fine museum.

Delwyn said...

I like your commentary Firelight. It makes me think
Thank you

I like the idea that the beams on the cross can represent the intersection of our vertical everyday ego lives and the horizontal sacred life

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight,

I too like the soldier's arm; the power and brutality that it represents.

I saw the Mona Lisa in the 1990s but don't recall seeing this. But then, the Louvre has so many treasures you need your head on a swivel!

FireLight said...

Derrick, I can only imagine. There were 91 one items for this exhibit. I checked these facts with my husband and son who were also listening and reading. I think we are correctly reporting what we learned about this one painting, but I could have gotten it mixed up. I really want to know more about when the Louvre acquired this painting. I probably should have bought the book in the gift shop!

Delwyn, yes our lives DO intersect -- the spiritual and the secular. I have often wondered how the soldiers must have reflected on this episode in their lives as they grew older.

Sandra, yes the High Museum does have a fine reputation. We try to get there several times a year. It is a full day's outing, but always worth the effort.

Willow, I felt very fortunate to be there. I think I would need about a month to really view the Louvre based on the time I spent on 91 pieces!

Derrick said...

Hello again,

I did place a reply on my blog to your Gwendolyn query. Did it come through to your inbox?

You shouldn't exhaust yourself wondering who Gwendolyn is. It is just a nice Welsh name that I thought might be appropriate after your Princess of Wales story! You could just as easily be Gwyneth! Enjoy your weekend.

L. Rochelle said...

So much art is out of sight in the sub-
basements of museums. There should be a liberation army, freeing hidden art! I never saw this painting at the Louvre, but thanks to you, I'm seeing it now!
Lyn

Chuckeroon said...

Well, Firelight.....tks for dropping in. You'll find the Isabella Plantation if you Google it or look at the site for Richmond Park.

Now....I'm confused. Celtic Crosses in Yorkshire are unlikely / must be exceptionally rare, bearing in mind the Danish Viking invasions and settling of Yorkshire following the Saxons, and then the Normans who had no particular liking for Celts, not to mention the Romans clearing the Celts/ancient Britains out in AD 55. Where did you find that? Furthermore, Camerons settled in the Deep South............the mystery thickens.

RuTDP has been going for over 2 years so you have a lot to look back through.

Finally.........good thoughts in your item about Easter and the Cross. A Happy Easter to you.

Virginia said...

Ahhh, my friend Chuckeroon has found you. You will enjoy his photographs and text. He is one of my favorites.

The image and text are so perfect for today.I count our new friendship as an Easter blessing. A privilege to read your blog and get to know you better.
Blessings this day,
V

Michael said...

Thank you FireLight, what an amazing find. The hands and arms are particularly well conceived.

Tom Atkins said...

What a great tale to remind us how God pulls us out of the grime of life and raises us in his love for us. Ah! Redemption!

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat