One of you denies me; one of you betrays me: The Last Supper in the Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia

I have Jesus Christ Superstar on the brain. On. the. brain. I just can’t get enough of it. I love how human Judas is in the play/movie. He’s a real person with frustrations and justifications, real, true anger and real, true love. We know how it’s going to go. We know his fate before the movie even begins. And then I’m always so happy to see him show up again, all be-fringed and belting it out toward the end of the movie. So what does this have to do with the Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia in Florence? I’ll tell you: the Judas in Andrea del Castagno‘s Last Supper there is about as far from the Jesus Christ Superstar Judas as you can get. But let’s step back for a minute. Here’s the painting:

Andrea del Castagno, Last Supper, 1445-50, fresco, Cenacolo di Sant-Apollonia, Florence

Andrea del Castagno, Last Supper, 1445-50, fresco, Cenacolo di Sant-Apollonia, Florence

It probably looks familiar – not exactly the same as Leonardo’s more famous, and later, version, but the format is similar. Andrea del Castagno’s Last Supper, again like Leonardo’s, is in a refectory (the place where monks/nuns eat in a monastery or convent, “cenacolo” in Italian) in a convent in Florence. Whether or not you’ve seen it before, take a moment and bask in its amazingness. Continue reading

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Curative Miracles? Orsanmichele!

Orsanmichele.  (Say it with me: or-sahn-mi-KAY-lay.   Rolls off the tongue.  Seriously, say it a couple of times and you won’t want to stop.)   When I think Florence, I think Orsanmichele.  Not the Duomo, not Michelangelo’s David.  Don’t get me wrong — I love all of it.  But a church, originally built as a grain market, with statues commissioned by the guilds of Florence around the outside, on the Via dei Calzaiouli (“via day-ee  calz-eye-oo-WOH-lee”), which means, “street of the shoemakers” — it really doesn’t get better than that.  And to top it all off, Via dei Calzaiouli is a pedestrian-only street.  Get it?  The street of the shoemakers is for walkers only!  (I’m sure that’s not intentional, just an interesting coincidence.)   Orsanmichele on Via dei Calzaiouli.  Doesn’t just saying it make you smile?

Orsanmichele, Florence, Italy, 1337-1430

Ok, let’s get down to it.  Continue reading