Monday, May 3, 2010

Featured Work: Oratory of Sorrows by Raul Berzosa

This month, we feature a trio of works by the Spanish painter Raúl Berzosa, completed in 2008 for the Oratory of Sorrows in Málaga, Spain. Installed surrounding a sculpture of Christ on the Cross, the works form an exquisite harmony both visually and iconographically.

Soaring above the Crucifix in the vault above is a mural of The Glorification of the Name of God. In the center appears a glowing triangle (a symbol of the Blessed Trinity) containing the name of God in Hebrew. Layers of the clouds of heaven have parted to reveal this name, which emanates rays of brilliant light. A host of tiny cherubim gather before our eyes in worship, some looking aloft to the Godhead above, one gazing down in wonder and emotion to the sculpture of Christ below.

The two paintings hanging on the side walls and flanking the sculpture of Christ Crucified highlight the body of Christ: His Mystical Body the Church, and His true Body in the Eucharist. To our left is the Triumph of the Church over Sin. The Church, personified as a woman, meets the blind gaze of a sinner at her feet, bound and incapacitated by Sin, represented by a serpent. She wears the stole of priestly authority and the fisherman's ring, a symbol of Saint Peter and the papacy, and receives the papal tiara from an angel above her. As she gazes at the sinner at her feet, she points towards the Crucifix as the source of his freedom from the hold of sin.

At our right is an image showing the Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry. The Blessed Sacrament bursts with light and occupies the focal point of the painting. A man who has been enslaved to worldly pursuits turns in response to an angel who directs his attention to the Eucharist as the One worthy of worship. In this moment of conversion, the man lets several gold coins slip from his hand to join the scepter and coins -- symbols of earthly power and love of riches -- already at his feet.

To view more photos of the works in situ, visit the artist's website at

Rachel Ross
Curator of Art