• Trish Shelby

The Portrait of a Sacred Message: Raffaello's Godly Works

Updated: Mar 12

Are words enough?


Often, people are used to expressing their emotions, or share what they went through in life with words by making a letter, a poem, or a novel about it. Some writers are even thinking of a fantasy story that will resemble metaphorically to their life-events, as they deem the reality dull and calm. But, is it really through words that we can express our intentions clearly? Perhaps, there might be other ways to express creatively. 

Raffaello, a great artist during ancient times, was asked by Pope Leones X to create a portray of a religious message. Written in Carla De Petris’ blog, it stated there— “Pope Leones X wished to portray a religious message in one of the most sacred places of Christianity, and in 1515 commissioned Raffaello to create ten cartoons for tapestry, with scenes of Saint Peter and Saint Paul for the Sistine Chapel.” 

In this matter, instead of asking some writers out there to write the sacred message, Pope Leones X looked for an exceptional artist to do the case. The story of history only proves that it is not always through words that we can evince noble creations. Sometimes, a simple portrait has touched millions of souls and can be even more meaningful than anything. 

According to Leonardo Da Vinci, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is a painting that is felt rather than seen.” Indeed, people believed that it arouses an experience of the art by seeing things because sometimes, it’s hard to feel something without any real subject concerning it. In other words, we may feel deeper feels in a letter only to find it nothing but empty words; worse, to finally discover ourselves deceived by our mind. 

It only justifies Raffaello’s tapestry design for Pope Leone X, and how his painting regarding the sacred portrait of a religious message remains remarkable over the years. Do you even notice why churches and other holy places are filled with historical sculptures and magnificent paintings? Even though the Bible itself declared that images are strictly prohibited in Lord’s house, there is still plenty of it in the church. But it is not there so that people will worship it; it is there for art and heaven. 

Going back to the question above, are words enough? 

Indeed, it is. Even though it is hard to find the right words to express how we feel, it is still the most straightforward thing we can do to describe what we want. However, people are contented with the word enough. This is why when there’s fish, rice, and water on the table, we still spend dollars on meat. Even the number of clothes in our closet is not enough because we always buy new ones when there’s a new fashion trend. In the same way about art, that is why there’s painting, music, dancing, and a lot more to express a high-flown creation. 

Now that art has several branches so we will have the freedom to choose which field we are good at, there’s no longer excuse for us to contribute small artworks in the art community. Like Raffaello, whose life is short yet created a lot of contribution in the art community, it should be looked as an inspiration to join the experience of art, not only for personal matters but also to showcase to the world this heaven-sent talent. 

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