I thought nothing of this Pieta when I saw it in the Church of St. Giles.
I documented it anyway.
It was later in the evening after editing the shot and after going to bed that I awoke from a shallow sleep, haunted. This image was on my mind and under my skin. The agony depicted in this shot didn’t take immediately but became more as it simmered sub consciously.
But not just the image of the dead Christ laying in His mother’s lap, His lifeless arm curled up over his heart, their faces separated by opposite direction and a dark cross looks as a shadow of death – not just that – but what was just out of the frame to the left.
Sitting forward on a bench, her back to me, with her head in her hands leaning toward the front of the church, was a girl who appeared troubled. She had come here obviously seeking solace from some hardship. The church was closed except for entry to the very back, the main of the church was behind a locked cast iron gate. And it was cold in there. For me the light was soft and I moved to the other side of the back to peer through the gate for something of interest.
Then I heard a wail from the girl, her agony was vocal.
Now it is the middle of the night in my hotel on my hard bed, and I am awake because of this image and that memory, and my lack of compassion at the time for that girl. And I think of the compassion of Christ even in death. And I think of Mary’s anguish for her son. And I think maybe I will remember this next time and not hesitate to being of help, if even to say a prayer for someone in pain when I encounter them. Even as I write this I am convicted. And I think of the dead Christ in Mary’s lap.
That statue, at the time, did not move me. But art can do this – it can resonate within us for consideration even becoming indelible.