Rafael… on his 500th anniversary

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Rafael… on his 500th anniversary

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

Some people are remembered by history owing to the charisma (talent) of creativity that God instilled in their hearts. Consequently, they discover their talents, develop and hone them. After they have excelled in one or several fields, history remembers them as they place a new brick in the construction of the civilization of humanity. Among these great figures is Rafael or rather Raffaello Sanzio who marks this year the 500th anniversary of his death in Italy.

The one who brought up this anniversary is His Holiness Pope Francis during his meeting with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. He said, “This year marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Raphael [Raffaello Sanzio], the great artist from Urbino, who died in Rome on 6 April 1520. Raphael left us a vast legacy of inestimable beauty. Just as an artist’s genius can blend raw materials and different colors and sounds to create a unique work of art, so diplomacy is called upon to harmonize the distinctive features of the various peoples and states in order to build a world of justice and peace. This is in fact the beautiful masterpiece that all of us want to be able to admire.”

This "lesson" that we learn from a great artist like Rafael, five centuries after his death is quite remarkable. It is a lesson to artists of our contemporary times, designed not to focus on the quantity of their artistic works but on their quality, even if they are few. The artist Raphael died at the age of 37. During the European Renaissance, Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michael Angelo lived at the same time. They competed in an honorable way, yet history immortalized their works to this day in their capacity as the cornerstones of art in its various forms, and they kept their indelible imprints on the book of human civilization.

This is also a lesson to our artists designed to transmit through art--to which we add poetry, music, and theater--noble human values that are remembered by history, valued by generations, and that respect religions in the same way as the three geniuses who were interested in paintings in monasteries and churches, and whose works still serve as a milestone in the Vatican and the most famous museums of human history.

Congratulations to Italy, whose son is Raphael. Congratulations to humanity which looks more beautiful when generations remember geniuses and talented people who contributed to the advancement of human art to higher degrees.

abouna.org@gmail.com

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