Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Verona III: facciamo le cornu (or corna)

The baptistery in Verona alone is worth a visit. Mind you, I don't imagine that it is used as shown; the priest would need to nimbly leap over the outer barrier in order to baptize a child in that inner tin bowl.

The outer barrier is the most interesting thing. It shows scenes from the infancy narratives of our Lord's life.

Above we can see the annunciation. This is the only picture I didn't take; this came from the web. My companion alerted me afterwards to what I had missed. That figure on the right would appear to be making 'the horns', the ancient sign mocking a cuckold. I had heard (to my distaste) that to some in the middle ages, St Joseph was a fun figure, cuckolded (as it were) by the Holy Spirit. Is that what this image shows?


Andrew said...

As you undoubtedly know, showing the horns of the cuckold is virtually obligatory whenever Italian youths are photographed en masse. Interesting to see that the origins of the gesture go back such a long way. And of course modern Italian is replete with all manner of blasphemy far too crude for a family publication such as this excellent blog.

pelerin said...

There is a tragic story on today's Daily Mail web site relating to total immersion baptism. A young child was reported as having been accidentally 'drowned by the priest' in Moldova during baptism in this way.

This report has brought forth many anti Christian comments.

bedwere said...

It's corna, Father. By the way, you should visit also Ferrara, the city where I was born. You won't be disappointed.

Pastor in Valle said...

Bedwere:very nice to hear from you.
As an Italian yourself, of course I bow to your judgement. However, I have seen this spelling in many places, both in books and on the net, so maybe I won't change it..
By coincidence, I WAS also in Ferrara! I had forgotten that you were from there. In fact I spent four or five days there, and may yet post up some pics if there is anything worth posting about. A beautiful city, as you suggest, though it was very hot.