Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Vault of Heaven

Domes are meat and drink to the jobbing symbolist! A dome building is an image of the world and this is delightfully typical. The sky is round, the earth is square and the pillars are rays of sun, flooding down onto the earth. There is even a central hole which denotes the sun. It's a fair bet that most people who look up at this dome know little of this and why should they? They experience it at an unconscious level. But not everyone was looking up at the time I took the photograph. My concentration was disturbed because a rather disreputable individual was taking far too much interest in my camera kit. Even in church the harsh realities of the outside world intrude! I remember him though and I guess he has his own relationship with this image. This is the interior of the very fine Basilica at Superga. It's on a hill overlooking Turin, with fabulous views and a funicular railway to get you the top in some style. The church was built from 1717 to 1731 so that Victor Amadeus Savoy could fulfil a vow he made during the Battle of Turin. The Superga hill is well known for the calamitous 1949 air crash which killed returning football heroes, Il Grande Torino. At the time, 10 Torino players were in the Italian national side and some say it was a tragedy from which the team never really recovered. When I was there, a man and his son, dressed in Torino colours had made a special pilgrimage to visit the memorial shrine and I was honoured to witness an emotional father-son moment.