If you believe access to Art is an essential component of a life well-lived – assuming basic critical needs have been met – then you might decide to live in the Northern city of Milan. Architectural beauty exists on almost every street corner in the city centre of this commercial metropolis, and it is a visual and spiritual delight. When you also factor in the high probability of coming across sculptures of this quality, adorning a facade or the entrance to a doorway, you know you are in a place where life and art coexist and complement each other. It was E. M. Forster who said, ‘Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted’. I think he was on to something.
Saint Bartholomew (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13) never set foot in Milan but his statue has been the talk of the town for the past four and a half centuries. Just ask Mark Twain. Then again, the tradition of Bartholomew, which purports that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albanopolis, Armenia (modern-day Turkey), is the stuff of legends. Bartholomew, now the patron saint of tanners, is usually depicted with a large knife and holding his own skin.
In many ways this image reveals the power of compact modern digital cameras to capture detail. When I took this shot of the famous statue of St Bartholomew in the Milan Duomo I was aware of the father and daughter figures to the right of the frame. However, I didn’t fully appreciate the significance of their body language until I edited the image later.