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Tuesday, May 2, 2023

New Visions of the Evangelists at the Hungarian Academy in Rome - til May 13

The 4 apostles, a subject that does not always hold fascination for us, open the current exhibit at the Hungarian Academy in Rome (the exhibit is scheduled to close May 13).  A glance at the poster seems to indicate a somewhat traditional portrait of one of the saints - in this case, Saint Matthew. We wandered into the exhibit nonetheless (being underwhelmed by the Wunderkammern group show across the street), informed by prior excellent shows at that Academy on via Giulia in Borromini's Palazzo Falconieri.

And our wandering was rewarded. The portrait of St. Matthew, by artist Erik Mátrai, on closer look was composed of money, acknowledging Matthew's role as a tax collector ("publican") - photo at right. The other 4 apostles similarly were composed of materials reflecting their status. Below is St. Mark, whose name is tied to the blessing of the crops, made out of seeds of grain.

Sts. Luke and John are at the end of the post.

The exhibit featured another spectacle of a work, very different from the 4 apostles, again by Mátrai, this one using light and reflection (from a lamp source and from a curtained window in the Palazzo), as well as from one's own shadow.

Here one can see more clearly the use of mirrors and shadows:

Works by 16 other artists play on the theme of the evangelists. Among those, we particularly liked Lajos Csontó's 12 disciples, wo are in essence real, ordinary, living people. His black and white photographs, accompanied by brief texts, have some of the feel of Bill Viola's videos and stills.

Below is Ilona Lovas's part installation/part painting/part sculpture on the washing of the feet:

Rome is home to great contemporary religious art. The "furnishings" at Piero Sartogo's Santo Volto church, about which we've written, are among them.  

And so too is this exhibit, "Vangelo 21" (21st Gospel), at the Hungarian Academy in Rome, via Giulia 1 (directly across from Wunderkammern Gallery), posted hours Monday through Friday 9:30-19:30.


Here's St. Luke, reportedly a painter and a patron of the arts. Mátrai composed this painting - of the artist/saint painting an icon - of pieces of paintings he did not complete.

  Close-up of St. Luke

And below, St. John, a writer and patron saint of writers. Mátrai uses the letters A, B, and C, and overlaps them to create the texture of the painting.

St John, close-up

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