Man is ordered to the good, the true, and the beautiful because, as the Catholic Church teaches, in such things we encounter God. Today, we encounter “Saint Peter Damian Offering the Rule of the Camaldolese Order to the Virgin” by Pietro da Cortona.
For a reflection about this painting, please enjoy below.
Peace be with you!
From the author, My Daily Bread: A Reason2bCatholic blog
The fine arts, but above all sacred art, “of their nature are directed toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by human hands….”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 2513
Saint Peter Damian Offering the Rule of the Camaldolese Order to the Virgin
Reflection on the Painting
by Toledo Museum of Art
The Italian saint Peter Damian (1007-1072) became a monk of the white-robed Camaldolese Order—an austere order that fasted frequently and eliminated all luxuries. He became a leader in the Order, even modifying its rules; he later was made a cardinal of the Church, though against his will.
In Pietro da Cortona’s painting, Peter Damian is shown offering the rules of the Camaldolese Order to a vision of the Virgin Mary, to whom he was especially devoted. Two cherubs play with his cardinal’s robe and hat. The dramatic presentation, glowing colors, dynamic composition, and promotion of Catholic saints and the Virgin Mary are all hallmarks of the Italian Baroque style, of which Pietro da Cortona was one of the leading practitioners.
Cardinal Francesco Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII, commissioned the painting in 1629 or 1630. Originally intended as a gift to the Camaldolese hermitage at Frascati, the painting remained in the Barberini family until it was acquired by the Museum in 1960.
Credit: Toledo Museum of Art, purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey; http://emuseum.toledomuseum.org/objects/55153/saint-peter-damien-offering-the-rule-of-the-camaldolese-orde;jsessionid=0E1F35043C00F0E570B504227A9447F1 Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
For more about Saint Peter Damian, church reformer and Doctor of the Catholic Church, please visit our post Saints Alive! | St. Peter Damian, https://reason2bcatholic.com/2021/02/21/saints-alive-st-peter-damian/.
Truth, Beauty, and Sacred Art
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 2501
Created “in the image of God,” man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man (CCC 2501).
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Saint Paul, Letter to the Philippians (4:8)
St. Paul, Apostle, Martyr, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.