Art and death in the face of an invisible and insidious virus that in the course of this pandemic has brought man to reflect on life and death

- the guest specialists of Patmos Island -

ART AND DEATH BEFORE AN INVISIBLE AND INSIDIOUS VIRUS THAT IN THE COURSE OF THIS PANDEMY REPORTED MAN TO REFLECT ON LIFE AND DEATH

.

From culture to culture, burial and funeral rites marked the passage of man's death, all until the emergence of Christianity in which, the deposition of the dead Christ from the cross becomes a fundamental stereotype for the care of body and soul. Through the artistic Christian iconographies of all centuries we are aware of how much man is almost endemically linked to his own existence.

.

Author
Licia Oddo *

.

.

PDF format Print article

 

.

.

Raffaello Sanzio, Deposition of the Christ, oil on the table, Borghese Gallery, Rome

Among the side effects of the pandemic da covid19, the moment of meditation regains its physiognomy, in a society addicted to the lack of time in the daily frenzy. So today we return to recover the time in the various vital aspects, including the artistic one of an art intended as a noble expression of human activity. Indeed, art in itself is a great act of resistance to death [G. Vangi cfr. (C). Casadei in Shows, culture and society].

.

If the man was forced to limit and arrest its existence, the death, it doesn't stop in front of anything or anyone, indeed it is the most tragic of consequences, but it is tinged with darker tones because of this pandemic form, denying man the dignity of his own cult. Thus, if nature rumbles in the silence of the emergency and takes back its place, the pandemic ousted men in the cult of the dead, to the point of preventing their extreme greeting, at the vigil of the corpse before the burial and its pitiful burial.

.

In all civilizations and At that time, attention to the deceased is a priority in the tradition of giving the right burial of the functional body to the well-being of the soul. Literary tradition and art bear witness to all civilizations in the history of funeral worship starting from the Greek world, from the Homeric poems in the famous claim of Priam of the body of the son by the Achaeans, all tragedy, in which Antigone's desperation for the death of his brother Polinice, breaks the burial ban. If that of the γέρας θανόντων was an obligation of the survivors towards the warrior, at the same time it was necessary to protect his body from the attack of nature and from the outrage of the enemy by providing for his burial. In the same way as Greek culture, the West becomes heir and bearer of a system of values, ideals capable of resisting the corrosive action of time, and to guarantee immortality to man thanks to the memory of his relatives.

.

Catacombs of Santa Lucia, Syracuse: funerary fresco

From culture to culture, burial and funeral rite marked the passage of man's death, until the spread of Christianity in which the deposition of the dead Christ from the cross becomes a fundamental symbol of body and soul care. Through the artistic Christian iconographies of all centuries we are aware of how much man is almost endemically linked to his own existence.

.

For about two months now, tens of thousands of men, because of the morbid covid19, they were forced to renounce funeral rites, but even before the last farewell to their relatives. The scenarios that open before our eyes are worthy of a catastrophe: corpses piled one on top of the other in the corridors of nosocomes, deprived of the simplest social dignity. With amazement, we witnessed a row of military trucks loaded with coffins brought from Bergamo to various crematoria in Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, because the crematoriums of the city could not carry out all those cremations. Images that brought to mind the well-known pestilences that have afflicted humanity through the ages. Bodies burnt or thrown into mass graves covered with quicklime due to the lack of cemetery places, sadly obliged to proceed quickly to get rid of it to sanitize the environment avoiding further contagion.

.

Genuflected statue in the heart of Times Square with the hands turned to the sky and titled Covid Hero monument, work by the artist Sergio Furnari, which has become a symbol of the fight against the pandemic.

Same procedure today it concerns some of the countries on earth so as not to run into as many dangerous infections that have stunned and horrified the most common consciences. Thus we witness the most painful humiliation and mortification in post-contemporary society that nothing could have done against a catastrophic event, higher than any forecast. And if history seems to repeat itself even after a century, when in the 1920s there was the great epidemic known as “Spanish fever”, punctuating our life in stages pending normal daily recovery, the instinct for conservation predominates above all. Primordial instinct that distinguishes human nature, whose reaction is visible today in the work of doctors and in artistic representations, which collect material evidence of human work to guarantee total physical and identity survival of our species, formed by men who often feel invincible; men who maybe, ever, they would have imagined how an invisible and insidious virus, It would lead them to reflect on life and death again.

.

Syracuse, 9 May 2020

.

.

* Historian and art critic. Already a critical signpost of the Catalog of modern art (C.A.M.) Editorial Giorgio Mondadori – Cairo

.

.

.

«You will know the truth and the truth will set you free» [GV 8,32],
but bring, spread and defend the truth not only of
risks but also the costs. Help us supporting this Island
with your offers through the secure Paypal system:









or you can use the bank account:

payable to Editions The island of Patmos

IBAN IT 74R0503403259000000301118
in this case, send us an email warning, because the bank
It does not provide your email and we could not send you a
thanksgiving [ isoladipatmos@gmail.com ]

.

.

.

About Licia Oddo

Storico dell'Arte ( Click on the name to read all its articles )