Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Br. Antonio Moscheni SJ

A very interesting article [linked over at Open Book], on a 19th century Italian Jesuit and his artistic contributions to India.
No account of the paintings of Antonio would be complete without a reference to his far-sightedness and liberal outlook. He painted Saraswati, the goddess of learning, as the centre-piece of the Academy Hall of St. Aloysius College, with the baseline reading: Sathyameva Jayathe … Om. He also used Indian attire in religious paintings at the dawn of the 20th century. In today’s interculturation context this may not surprise many; but it reflected the foresight and tolerance of the Italian Jesuit. It is also ironical that though Antonio was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Cochin, there seems to be no gravestone left in it.
Very interesting indeed! "Sathyameva Jayathe" (Only in truth there is victory) became the motto of the Republic of India after Independence. It's Sanskrit, but I'm unsure of its provenance.

I had no idea of the connection with the Cathedral of the Holy Name in Bombay, the parish where I first started going to Mass. Here's a great photo of the beautiful interior.

Incidentally, the last photograph in the column (which I first thought might be of Holy Name Cathedra, though I'm not so sure) has a date of 15-8-94, which is the date of my baptism!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Antonio Moscheni, as a priest didn´t have a descendant. But today I found a relative descendant of him in Santiago de Chile that also is a painter. Mr Marcos Moscheni Flores is not as spiritual as him, but he got part od the artist touch of him.
More of his work can be found on www.retratosmoscheni,com