I’m not a religious person, by any means. But I have had a religious experience. It was at the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. My husband dragged me there to see the Caravaggio paintings. I’d never even heard of the artist until then. I was in a bad mood because Rome was in the middle of a heat wave, so basically the only thing I wanted to do was browse cold museums and eat gelato in the shade. But I agreed to go and the entire way there he went on and on about how amazing it is that you can just walk into this church and see actual Caravaggio paintings for free. When we arrived, the church was, thankfully, dark and cold. I wrapped my exposed shoulders in a scarf and walked up to the three huge paintings. I can’t remember how long I stood there looking at “The Calling of St. Matthew” but I can remember exactly how it made me feel. From that moment on, I was obsessed with Caravaggio. With his life and his work. I’ve made it my mission to see as many of his paintings in person as I possibly can, and one day I’ll return to Rome and go back to that church just to stand in front of that painting again. Today is Good Friday and I’m reading The Guardian of Mercy: How an Extraordinary Painting by Caravaggio Changed an Ordinary Life Today by Terence Ward.
(I guess I should add it to my Caravaggio reading list.)
What are you reading?