Saints

Contents

 

1 Saint Batholomew in the skin

 

 

 

1

19 May 2008

Saint Bartholomew in the skin

The statement flung out

was met with astonishment;

a young woman stood holding it,

hanging limply from her hands.

She shuddered

as she looked at the distorted smile

on the loose face

of Michelangelo’s flayed skin

in her bloodied hands.

Wikipedia

Bartholomew was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαίος, transliterated “Bartholomaios”) comes from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay (תולמי‎‎‎‎‎-בר‎‎), meaning son of Tolmay (Ptolemy) or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman). Many have, based on this meaning, assumed it was not a given name, but a family name.[1]

The festival of St. Bartholomew is celebrated on August 24 in the western Church and on June 11 in the Eastern churches. The Armenian Apostolic Church honours Saint Bartholomew, along with Saint Thaddeus as their patron saint. The Coptic Church remembers him on January 1. The festival in August has been a traditional occasion for markets and fairs; such a fair serves as the scene for Bartholomew Fair, a play by Ben Jonson.

Michelangelo‘s The Last Judgment shows St Bartholomew holding the knife of his martyrdom and his flayed skin. The face of the skin is recognizable as Michelangelo’s.

The fresco of The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Clement VII, who died shortly after assigning the commission. Paul III was instrumental in seeing that Michelangelo began and completed the project. Michelangelo labored on the project from 1534 to October 1541. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse; where the souls of humanity rise and are assigned to their various fates, as judged by Christ, surrounded by the Saints.

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