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“I simply remember [those beautiful] things…”

February 21, 2012

Today, I got to introduce to my 9th grade history students one of my favorite topics in the world- beautiful things.

We talked about some great works of the Renaissance, such as The Last Supper, the Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo’s David.  These famous works are beautiful not simply because they portray sacred events– they are also beautiful because of how they are portrayed.  They communicate not merely events, but messages.  Da Vinci and Michelangelo brilliantly showcase the human experience and the human form – both of which give glory to the God who originally invented man in His own image, perfect.

Yet, my favorite moment today was actually teaching a Renaissance product with a bit of a lower profile: The Pazzi Chapel, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446).

One of my favorite professors at college, Drake, taught me about this chapel.  At first glance, this looks like just another ‘pretty’ building in Florence, Italy.  But why is it beautiful?  Just because it has some nice embellishes that are pleasing to the eye?  No, there is more to it than that. The six Corinthian columns you see are in groups of three- representing the Trinity.  The four squares (in four squares) represent what the Greek philosopher Plato considered to be the perfect number- four.  The arch in the center is clearly Roman.  To top it off (literally), Brunelleschi gave it his own contemporary touch- a Tuscan roof.  Brunelleschi was communicating something: Here is our great Greek, Roman and Christian heritage.  Let us have pride in it!

Teaching this was my favorite moment today because it caught my students by surprise.  “Now that you told us those things, it is so much cooler and meaningful!”  Yes, it’s meaningful, and how beautiful it is!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 7, 2012 12:49 am

    What a lovely lesson on this beautiful piece of architecture. I am so proud of you Kate.
    Love, Dad

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