Tag Archives: Bargello

In Praise of the Virgin Mary


“To us up here you are the torch of noon
Blazing with love, and for the mortals down there
You are the living fountainhead of hope.

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“Lady, you are so highly placed and helpful,
Whoever seeks grace and does not call on you
Wants his desires to fly up without wings.

–Dante’s Paradiso, Canto XXXIII
[Saint Bernard speaking]

The artworks are from the Bargello Museum in Florence.

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In Praise of the Virgin Mary

As we come near to the Feast of the Assumption, it seems natural to let the arts of Florence speak to each other of the beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here Dante, in his sublime Canto  XXXIII, has Saint Bernard speak of Mary. The artworks are from the Bargello Museum.

“Virgin mother, daughter of your Son,
Humbler and higher than all other creatures,
Fixed aim and goal of the eternal plan,…

“You are the one who lifted human nature
To such nobility that its own Maker
Did not disdain to be made of its making.

“Within your womb was lit once more the flame
Of that love through whose warmth this flower opened
To its full bloom in everlasting peace.”

–Dante’s Paradiso, Canto XXXIII
[Saint Bernard speaking]

Last Day in Italy

Thursday, Sept. 10. Today is our last day In Italy and so, facing all day traveling tomorrow, we decided to take it easier.

The morning started with a visit to the Bargello Museum, a collection of Renaissance art in a building that was both palace and jail. The art was captivating, but as attractive was the setting. The building has been restored along with frescoes and ornaments; a great way to round out our trip.

Bargello Museum. Florence, Italy.

Our Lady of Mercy. Bargello Museum. Florence, Italy.

Courtyard of the Bargello Museum. Florence, Italy.

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After our encounter with the Santo Volto in the cathedral in Lucca, the crucifix that was miraculously completed by angels, we had to visit Santissima Anunziata which has a miraculous image of Mary. Again, the story goes that an artist, overwhelmed by painting the face of Mary, prayed for divine inspiration and went to bed, only to find the image completed when he awoke. The image is hard to see in the photos below.

Santissima Anunziata. Shrine. Florence, Italy.

Santissima Anunziata. Florence, Italy. (image at far right)

In the evening we joined the New Jerusalem community for vespers and Mass. We had encountered this community in Paris. Their vespers are wonderfully chanted and the spirit among the community is palpable. A very moving end to our time away. Tomorrow we meet the taxi to go to the airport at 4:15am.

New Jerusalem community. Florence, Italy.