NOUS SOMMES POUSSIÈRE

 

NOUS SOMMES POUSSIÈR
Done for: Capela de S. João Baptista - Igreja de São Roque
Sculpture
1630 x 800 x 500 mm
PetG Painted, SIBU Gold
Photography: Estúdio SantaRosa 
Lisbon, 2017

Context

This so-called life is not more than a circle from dust to dust: from the dust we were to the dust we will be. Some make a bigger circle, others a less one, others smaller, others a minimum one: De utero translatus ad tumulum: But whether the journey is long, or brief, or very brief; since it is a circle from dust to dust we are always and in every stage of life, dust.

Whoever circles from one point to another, the more one walks away, the closer one gets: and the farther one walks away, the closer one gets, one can’t walk away. The dust that was our beginning, that very one and not any other is our end. And because we walk in circles from this dust to this dust, the more it seems we are walking away from it, the closer we are getting to it: the step that walks away, is the one that brings us closer; the day that makes life, it also unmakes it. And like this wheel that goes forward and backwards together, always grinding, we are always dust

Padre António Vieira (Portuguese Jesuit from the 17th century) in Sermão de Quarta-feira de Cinzas

About Chapel of St. John the Baptist

Considered to be a masterpiece unique in European art, this chapel (Capela de São João Baptista) was ordered from Rome in 1740 by King John V (ruled 1706-50). It was constructed between 1742 and 1750, when it was officially inaugurated in Lisbon. The Portuguese court oversaw the construction, designed and built in Italy under the artistic direction of the architects Luigi Vanvitelli and Niccolo Salvi .Luigi Vanvitelli was forced to change its original design according to the drawings sent to Italy by architect João Frederico Ludovice as set out in correspondence between Ludovice and Vanvitelli. Hundreds of different artists and craftsmen worked on it. Consecrated by Pope Benedict XIV on 15 December 1744 in the Church of St. Anthony of the Portuguese (Sant'Antonio dei Portoghesi) in Rome, it was sufficiently finished that the Sovereign Pontiff could say mass in it on 6 May 1747. In September of that year, Manuel Pereira de Sampaio, Portuguese ambassador to the Holy See, saw to the dismantlement of the chapel, and its transport, by three ships, to Lisbon, where it was reassembled in São Roque in what had been the 17th-century.