An image never represents a mere idea; it is never just an illustration. Thinking is constructed, shaped, and always develops through imagery. No thought comes to light, nor indeed casts a shadow, without being caused by an image, which itself becomes an insightful synthesis of a dimension of humanity. In this series (“Icons”), edited by Massimo Cacciari, authors from different backgrounds explore great icons of our cultural heritage – such as works by Mantegna, Pollock, Caravaggio, and Kiefer – that relate to key issues of our times.
Can that small, bewildered Christ – hidden by Brueghel amidst the crowd, and ignored and drowning in a sea of men – ever be resurrected? Rather than ushering in a new age in history, the cross looks like it’s falling into the world’s endless darkness. In the weary atmosphere of Rembrandt’s “Supper at Emmaus”, even the Resurrection is diluted: the risen one, sitting at the pilgrims’ table, is drawn from the shadows by a feeble light. Perhaps the disappearance of Christ and the absence of any God on Earth are signs that now demand our attention .
Gabriella Caramore is a writer for an Italian public radio programme on religious culture.
Maurizio Ciampa used to teach at the University of Teramo, has worked for Italian public television and radio, and is an essayist.