Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Hallowe'en

Always thinking of my blog readers, I photographed this skeleton in the Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo when I was in Rome a few weeks ago. 

It's part of the tomb of a 17th-century Italian architect, Giovanni Battista Gisleni, who not only designed but also installed it, two years before he died. Unlike most Baroque skeletons, this one doesn't represent Death as a general concept or force, but rather represents Gisleni himself in his transitional state between life on earth and ... Well, we can imagine what he must have hoped. Above this rather macabre sculpture is a portrait of the architect in a tondo (round) along with a canopy surrounded by angels.... From the horrific to the sublime?

And on that note, may all your haunting be happy this evening, and may you find Treats, not Tricks! Happy Hallowe'en!
 

17 comments:

  1. Scary picture
    Happy Hallowe'en! We do not celebrate here
    Dottoressa

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    1. I wondered about that. We saw windows full of costumes and spooky decorations in Turin, Paris. Do you have any noticeable observation of All Souls or All Saints Days?

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  2. When I was small, we used to go from door to door on St. Martin's day (Nov. 11) to ask for sweets. In some protestant areas the day was sometimes mixed up with Martin Luther's birthday, and children would go out on Nov. 10 as well. Now Hallowe'en is taking over. This morning there was an article in the paper about the potential of this date for social integration - all kids can join in, their differing ethnic, linguitic and religious backgrounds don't matter at all. Maybe there is thruth in that, although I have also seen little turkish boys singing the St. Martin's songs - as long as they get their chocolate in the end...

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    1. Interesting proximity to the Catholic observation of all souls/Saints, themselves positioned on much earlier, preChristian observance of Samhain... Here, kids of every ethnic and religious background join in (adults as well, actually) and no one much cares except the dentists! It's all about the chance to dress up, walk in the dark, and get oodles of candy!

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  3. Skeletons scare me! I guess that's the point;).

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    1. This one was oddly macabre for a church, except that yeah, that is also the point, noticing the borders between this life and what comes next...

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  4. The borders between life and death are less distinct in many cultures. I would love to be in Mexico for The Day of the Dead. Even the United Church now celebrates All Saints' Day which was once a chiefly Catholic celebration. We had our first "trick or treat" gathering in our housing complex. Gradually families with children are being welcomed into what was a "retirement community." Do you have many children living on P. Island?

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    1. It's so true, Mme, it's not just the borders between life and death that seem wavy, but the borders between cultures and their celebrations are softening as well.
      There are quite a few kids on the island, maybe 40? I should do a mental head count . . .

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  5. Halloween is a rather non-event for us, sandwiched as it is between two birthdays. But the little ones enjoy dressing up and trick or treating and it's fun to see their excitement (heightened by the sugar). I'm not at all fond of the more ghoulish aspects of the day. I think those in centuries past were more aware of the fine line between death and life, an awareness reflected in the art of the time. That IS a macabre photo.

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    1. My granddaughters love the dress-up. Harriet was absolutely thrilled with her beautiful princess dress (and we focus on the adventures she can have in her sparkly dress, trying to mitigate a wee bit the gendering cliches of princesses), but I don't think she sees much reason for it to be relegated to Hallowe'en.

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  6. Not much halloweening here & none when I was a child . We had a 'mischief night' on Nov 4th , relating to Guy Fawkes trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament the next day & children roamed around knocking on doors , running away & throwing the odd firework . I'm not keen on skeletons either . I once told my physio sister I didn't like to think I had a skeleton inside me & she replied that I would be just a pool on the ground without it
    Wendy in York

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    1. Yes, I always think of Brits as doing up Guy Fawkes bonfires, etc., rather than Hallowe'en.
      Too funny, the image that arose when I read your last sentence, Wendy. And a bit macabre as well. . . ;-)

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  7. It is really taking off over here these days. A stroll round my village revealed lots of Halloween draped houses. Was rather touching.

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    1. Interesting. I'm guessing that some parts of Britain are adopting the celebration more readily than others? I do think there's something about the zeitgeist right now that's turning a wide swathe of Western culture, at least, toward the supernatural. . . the zombies, the vampires, the witches, etc....

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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