Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Squares and Chairs

St Peter's is in my neighbourhood in Rome, so I cross this square frequently. There's often opportunities for good photos that are a little different. This was taken when the new Pope was about to appear officially for the first time, and all the chairs were formally laid out. I took many shots but liked this the best. Many areas set aside for particular functions are in the form of a square. A square is created and earthly as opposed to heavenly (which is round). A square, like the setting of the chairs, is formal and intellectual - a product of human engagement with the universe. To be on the square is to be honest and to square up with someone is to balance a debt. I am uncertain why the recent term "square", denoting a dull and regimented person, came into being. I guess it's because each side of the square is the same. The chair of course denotes some kind of privilege - and these seats were reserved for the ticket holders, the invited few. Chairs always have four legs for stability, so the picture is all about the number four. Again this is earthly - the created and the revealed. That's why there are four corners of the globe - something that used to confuse me as a child. In some cities, particular areas are know as quarters. There's no mystery really, because these places are solid and knowable - just like St Peter's Square for me, accessible and on my beat.