Friday, March 11, 2005

A natural miracle

Its a miracle
Its a miracle, originally uploaded by mharrsch.
In general, the lighting in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli was very low and made it difficult to photograph much of the beautiful artwork that adorns its sanctuary but I found it interesting that a shaft of afternoon sunlight created a visual "miracle" shining on this mural. Actually, I found in my research that the central transcept of the sanctuary has been purposefully modified to enable the use of a sundial laid down along the meridian that crosses through Rome. I wish I had known about this aspect of the design and I would have made a point of photographing the Meridian Line that runs along the left side of the chapel floor. Having a latitude 15º at true noon, about 12.15 pm (1.15 pm in summer time), the sun casts its light dead on this line. It made me think of the Rose Line mentioned in the novel "The DaVinci Code".

"If you look at the right side of the transept wall, you can see that part of the cornice has been cut away to provide the effect. The markings were made by the astronomer, mathematician, archaeologist, historian and philosopher Francesco Bianchini. Bianchini had been commissioned by Pope Clement XI to make them for the Holy Year of 1700. It took a bit longer; they were comleted in 1703 with the assistance of the astronomer G.F. Maraldi." - Exseminarians Churches of Rome

This portion of the basilica, known as the Chapel of St. Bruno, was designed by Carlo Maratta. The altar was made from an older altar by Francesco Fontana in 1864. Above the altar is Giovanni Odazzi's painting The Apparition of the Virgin Mary to St Bruno. It was painted for the 1700 Jubilee, and shows the Blessed Virgin handing the Order's Rule to St Bruno. The vault was painted by Andrea Procaccini with figures of the Evangelists, while the rest of the decorations were painted by Antonio Bicchierai.

Later, I was chatting with another visitor and she asked me if I had not seen the coin boxes that you can place money in so lights will come up for a few moments to assist you in your photography. I didn't notice any boxes or signage to that affect in this church.

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