All the colours of the rainbow
In the medieval town Tolentino, Marche, Italy, is located in the historic center, the convent of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, with impressive frescoes from the school of Giotto, painted in all colours of the rainbow. This place where pilgrims travel to since many centuries is only a fifteen minutes’ drive from the yoga school.
The inventiveness, creativity and visual expressions of the artists were employed to communicate with humans, relaying insights, stories and events. As, for example, in this magnificent chapel of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, with frescoes painted around 1325, probably by Pietro da Rimini, a pupil of the great Giotto.
The walls are divided into compartments in which stories and miracles are displayed of the life of the local Saint Nicholas, of Christ and Mary. The ceiling opens up to an ultramarine blue sky with golden stars from where the four evangelists (Matthew, Luke, Mark and John) and the church fathers (Jerome, Gregory, Ambrose and Augustine), gaze from above to the viewer.
And every spectator can see his or her own story, that’s why it is so wonderful to just be in the room. The longer you remain seated on one of the wooden benches, the more windows open before your eyes; scenes with people, saints, animals, plants, all put down in a naturalistic way. Even the supernatural is depicted on a human scale. An angel appears surrounded by beautiful warm colour tones; the soul that rises from a corpse, the artist shows it. And the eye that wants to see is a witness.
The Chapel of St. Nicholas of Tolentino was painted shortly after the famous Basilica of Assisi.
The peaceful and evocative city of Saint Francis is a two days’ walk from the yoga school, or one day by horse (or 1 hour by car). It is a journey through the Apennine Mountains and then suddenly the town of Assisi appears as in a vision set against hills and mountains.
That’s where the story continues, more extensive, with artists such as Cimabue, Giotto, Lorenzetti and Simone di Martini.
Phaedra de Zeeuw has travelled as “a pilgrim, a pilgrim of art” (Bernard Berendson, Pellegrinaggi d’arte) to monasteries, churches, medieval occupations and glorious Renaissance cities in Marche, Italy, and happily gives ideas or tips for visiting inspiring places during the yoga holidays in Italy.