Antonio Boselli (c 1496-1536)
Cristo e la gloria di Ognissanti
Christ and the Glory of All the Saints
Oil on panel
140 cm x 210 cm
Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, Italy
In June 1449, the city Council of Bergamo entrusted the Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore in Bergamo Alto to the Congregazione della Misericordia Maggiore (The Congregation of Greater Mercy), a charitable foundation begun in 1265 and still very much in existence today
At the end of the fifteenth century, the foundation founded a College of Music with a Cappella Musica in the Basilica (Donizetti was a pupil)
Amongst the works of art the Congregation commissioned was this work by Boselli in 1514 It still is in the Basilica
In the top centre, Christ is seated in a mandorla surrounded by the Madonna and a host of angels and saints
With one hand he blesses. In the other he holds a book
There are thirty six saints who are depicted
On the right among the saints depicted are: St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Stephen, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Mark
In the centre below Christ are: Moses, Abraham, St. Gregory the Great and St. Jerome.
On the left include: St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Joseph, St. Vincent, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Alexander, San Bernardino, Blessed Guala (Dominican from Bergamo), and S. Proiettizio (a deacon martyr from Bergamo)
"The Solemnity of All Saints, which we celebrate today, invites us to raise our gaze to Heaven and to meditate on the fullness of the divine life which awaits us. “We are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be” (1 Jn 3:2): with these words the Apostle John assures us of the reality of our profound relation to God, as too, of the certainty of our destiny.
Like beloved children, therefore, we also receive the grace to support the trials of this earthly existence — the hunger and the thirst for justice, the misunderstandings, the persecutions (cf. Mt 5:3-11) — and, at the same time, we inherit what is promised in the Gospel Beatitudes: “promises resplendent with the new image of the world and of man inaugurated by Jesus” (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Milan 2007, p. 72).
The holiness, imprinted in us by Christ himself, is the goal of Christian life"