|The Crucifixion of the Apostle Saint Andrew...
The CROSS as Frame
|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
Maybe one day I will write a book about the importance of FRAMES in art. Frames are the
grammar of Art. Without the grammar of frames, just as in the case of narratives or sentences,
Art does not make full sense.
Rome is full of frames -- it is in the way that the City of the Vatican is somehow inside the larger
perimeter of Rome--- and they are key elements in the Sistine Chapel ceiling's frescoes of the
Creation of the World
It was in the 20th century that frames fell from grace in both architecture and visual art -- to the
point of so many great Moderns of the 1900s even daring to exhibit empty frames and other forms
of void. In many of our homes we even hang frame-less canvases on the walls, or nail posters to
the walls, without frames.
In Rome's church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, the vault ceiling above the apse provides a
fascinating opportunity to appreciate how form and content --- frame and story --- are indeed a
unity. Imagine these same frescoes by the great Domenichino of the arrest and martyrdom of
Saint Andrew without the frames.
The sepia pencil drawing at the top of this page was done by me in an attempt to explore how
the narratives of the Apostle's public life as a devout man -- beginning on the left by his torture
in the middle of the city, his calling or vocation while fishing with his brother Peter, and, on the
last wedge of the semicircle design to the right, of his arrest --- were more than just a series of
chapters in a story.
The sequential beauty of the events is in some sense the skin or flesh of the events. Without the
flesh of the form, there is no spirit.
The above color pencil study from my sketchbook focuses on one of the 12 clerestory windows
high up on the two side walls of the church, as frescoed by 20th-century artist Galimberti.
While drawing this elegant window design, I thought about its successful juxtaposition of
architecture, painting, and sculptural ornament -- and how in a way these 3 levels of the form
merge into one.
I thought too about how the martyrdom of the two fisherman apostles, Peter and Andrew,
becomes an elegant border to let in the --- more real -- light from the sky above us, from heaven.
The subject of the two crosses of these two brothers -- I also thought -- is the idea of the Cross of
one's faith as frame of one's life.
The above drawings were all done in freehand -- a mano alzada, as they say in Spanish. I used
binoculars often to view the subject and its details more closely.