Monday, April 09, 2012

Testament of Faith

Giovanni Capassini, (active 1555 - 1577)
The Triptyque of The Resurrection  1555
Oil on wood panel
Left: Musée du Louvre, Paris
Centre and Right: Lycée Gabriel Fauré, Tournon

Giovanni Capassini, (active 1555 - 1577)
Left hand panel: Christ and the Supper at Emmaus
Oil on wood panel
2m x 4.480 m
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Giovanni Capassini (active 1555 - 1577)
Centre panel: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Oil on wood panel: 
2.000 m. x 2.260 m. 
Lycée Gabriel Fauré, Tournon

Giovanni Capassini (active 1555 - 1577)
Right panel: Donor [Cardinal François de Tournon praying with a scene from Easter Sunday in the background
Oil on wood panel
1.160 m. x 1.010 m. 
Lycée Gabriel Fauré, Tournon

Giovanni Capassini (active 1555 - 1577)
Outer face: The Three Maries
Oil on wood Panel (grisaille)
2m x 4.480 m
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Capassini was born in Florence. He was trained in the workshop of Andrea del Sarto. Like many Florentne painters of his time he went to Rome. There he acquired patronage from the French cardinal François de Tournon, (1489-1562)vwho is known as "le Richelieu de François 1er"

He was the contemporary of Wolsey whom he met at the negotiationsat Amiens between France and England. 

He succeeded his elder brother when his brother was killed along with the cream of the French aristocracy at the Battle of Pavia. He helped to fill  the power vacuum created by the Battle

The cardinal`s court was at Lyon, the premier See of France and there Capassini settled. He married there and his name became "Capassin"

This work had a special importance for the Cardinal. It was for the College which he founded. The college is still in existence and is now known as Le Lycée Gabriel Fauré.

He founded it in 1536 and imbued it with the spirit of Catholic reform and as a platform for the then newly founded Jesuit order in South West France. It is the second oldest college in France

In 1714 the school and its library were destroyed by a fire. The Triptych was broken up. Only some parts remained in the College.

The first panel shows Christ breaking bread with the two disciples who despite having accompanied Christ for most of the day do not recognise the risen Christ

It is described in Luke 24:13-32 and Mark 16:12-13

Christ is about to break bread 

On the breaking of bread their eyes were opened and they recognized him

In the times of the Reformation, the Eucharistic theme is more than evident

It is the Lucan account of the Resurrection which suffuses the works comprising the Triptych  in its entirety

In the central painting, we see the empty tomb. By his Resurrection Christ conquers Death. Christ`s disciples, the Jewish authoritites and the Roman authorities all agree on one thing: the tomb was empty

In the third panel we see the donor of the work: Cardinal François de Tournon

In the background we see the encounter between the risen Christ and St Mary Magdalene ("Noli me tangere"). See John 20: 1 - 18

Mary discovered that the tomb was empty and even she did not recognise the risen Christ at first:

"14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 
15 Woman, he said, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she said, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. 
16 Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, Rabboni! (which means Teacher). 
17 Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
When the work was closed, we see the grisaille: the three Maries who come to the tomb. This is mentioned in all four Gospels but it is only in Mark that they are named:
" When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body."
(Mark 16:1)

Mary Magdalene  was first witness and was Apostle to the Apostle regarding the news of the Resurrection

South western France had a particular devotion to Mary Magdalene.

During the Catholic Counter Reformation, St Mary Magdalene acquired a new impetus as a figure of repentance

The triptych is a powerful testament of faith by one of France`s most powerful men