Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do not Discuss Religion with Geese: Il Gesu Part 1

Goosey goosey gander, where do you wander?
Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man who would not say his prayers
So I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.

I'm pretty sure that this nursery rhyme refers to the time when the queen of England was suspected of being a secret Catholic. The old man in question was, according to me, her priest, because at that time not saying your prayers was a punishable offense, although not by goose: for a while there one had to prove loyalty to the Church of England by saying the correct prayers. I'm hazy on the dates and names, but I'm pretty sure the goose was a Protestant. A mean Protestant.

If the goose had been a Jesuit, though, he might have liked today's church: Il Gesu. Il Gesu is the famous mothership of the Jesuits. I don't know a Jesuit from a hole in the ground, but I do know that this kind of iconography does NOT generally grace the front of your sweetness and light variety chapel.

There is a lot of that in Il Gesu. There are two priests stomping on people flanking the entranceway and at least two more groups of people being stompled inside the church. Even the cherubs don't look too friendly.

I'm going to have to go back there, though, because there was a gorgeous little chapel with a 15th century Madonna and the ceiling looked amazing, I made a big mistake by going in the early evening. I forgot that churches built in 1568 might not have the greatest light fixtures. So most of what I wanted to look at, particularly on the ceiling, was hidden in darkness. And although I was very tricky and figured out that I could lay my camera down flat on a chair to get a picture, I had technical problems.

Ooops. Part 2 soon.

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