John Keats wrote: “Beauty is truth, truth, beauty. That is all you know on earth and all you need to know.”
My recent trip to Italy included a trip to the Keats & Shelly museum, located at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. I have been a fan of the Romantic poets since I was in high school and felt like I had won a lottery to stumble upon the museum. There were original drafts of Keats’ poetry, pictures, letters, a library of first editions and Keats bedroom as it was at his death in 1821.
Beauty was everywhere in Rome.
I loved the architecture, the paintings, and the sculptures from ancient and modern day.
I am still experiencing the awe of seeing the Pantheon for the first time.
Evidently, Michelangelo, who didn’t praise many structures, said that the Pantheon was of angelic not human design.
I certainly experienced wonder and amazement that this magnificent building had been constructed initially in 31 BC. It had burned down, another one was built and ALSO BURNED DOWN! It was rebuilt a third time by Emperor Hadrian in 110 BC. It seems to be entirely made of marble so I am very curious about what actually burned.
The opening in the top of the dome, called the Oculus, is over 27 feet in diameter. It is open all the time and acts as a sundial on the inner walls of the building.
Originally the pantheon was built as a temple to all the gods. “Pan” means “all” and “theos” means god. The Pantheon became a church in 609 AD dedicated to St. Mary of the Martyrs. There were many people at the Pantheon the day we visited; most were tourists, some were worshipers.
Regardless of which god or gods and which religions we study we know that there is only One Divine Mind and out of it has sprung the magnificence of the ages. After all, the Greek gods became the Roman gods, with different names and slightly different stories. Then Christians took over the same sites, stating that there is only one god and Jesus was his only son. (But all the statues to honor those old gods were kept as beautiful objects for the glory of God.)
The day these photos were taken, we were tourists.
Nevertheless, I would have had to have been spiritually dead not to feel awe and wonder. Michelangelo was right: the design of the Pantheon is angelic.