Christ Revealed,
Sculpted by Felice Tagliaferri (born 1971),
Sculpted in 2011,
White Carrara Marble
© Felice Tagliaferri / Museo Archeologico di Napoli

Christ Revealed,
Sculpted by Felice Tagliaferri (born 1971),
Sculpted in 2011,
White Carrara Marble
© Felice Tagliaferri / Museo Archeologico di Napoli

Gospel of 20 November 2023

There was a blind man sitting at the side of the road

Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’ The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Sir,’ he replied ‘let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.’ And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God for what had happened.

Reflection on the contemporary sculpture

In today's Gospel we read of Jesus healing a blind man. We can hear that this blind man was very determined to be healed. He called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.' A similar resilience and single-mindedness can be found in blind contemporary artist Felice Tagliaferri.

If you have been to Naples, you may have visited the 'Cristo Velato' (Veiled Christ) sculpture, made by Giuseppe Sammartino (1720–1793) in 1753, which depicts Christ lying under the shroud. The effect of a thin veil is masterfully sculpted in stone. As with most artworks on public display, it is not allowed to be touched. And so our contemporary artist Felice Tagliaferri, blind since the age of 14, was not allowed to touch the sculpture, even though he had heard and read about the magnificence of the sculpture for so long. Even after explaining he was an artist himself, he still was refused permission to get close to the artwork, forbidden to touch. He was left deeply disappointed. It was this incident which inspired the blind artist to create his own version of the Veiled Christ. He titled his own work Cristo Rivelato (Revealed Christ), as something powerful was revealed to him sculpting the work. A veil had been lifted by sculpting a veil!

The quality of his work, executed in white Carrara marble, is striking. It is remarkably close to the 1753 original, all based on what people told the artist about what the original looked like. Far from having a 'hands-off' policy for his own sculpture, Felice wants the viewer to touch his statue. In fact, he said, 'You are forbidden not to touch!'

Above all, the blind man shows us not only how to seek the Lord’s mercy but also how to respond after receiving it: ‘He followed him, praising God’....

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17 days ago

This sculpture is truly remarkable in the fact that a blind man has been given the gift of sculpturing. Today’s gospel is a reminder that our prayers will be answered. Our Lord says, “Ask and you will receive!” Never give up hope and always “Believe!”

Noelle Clemens
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
17 days ago

Here is another example of tenacity, resolve, determination, persistence, call it what you will, being rewarded, and defined by Jesus as faith. The blind man is unembarrassed to call out and “make a spectacle” of himself in order to attract Jesus’ attention. And although Jesus would have seen that the man was blind, He still asked him what he wanted, he has autonomy, choice.
It makes me think, have I ever spent time thinking of what I want Jesus to do for me – as opposed to just presenting a shopping list of wants? Then Jesus tells the blind man that his faith has saved him. I’ve read that the word saved and healed can be the same in Greek: in this particular case meaning “healing from disease”, or possibly “saved from demonic possession”.
I have been rejoicing in the extraordinary story of the Cristo Revelato, sculpted by a blind man. Its great beauty feels like a gift from God, a miracle? Here the sculptor wanted to approach the statue of the Criso Velato, but was not permitted. In the Gospel, the crowd tried to prevent the blind man approaching, but he persisted. The sculptor found his own way to approach Jesus, to touch Him and be touched by Him. It is an undoubted masterpiece, as is the original. Fortunate are those who’ve seen either of them.

Suzan McCann
Suzan McCann(@morningsunhunaol-com)
17 days ago

Just goes to show me how truly blind I am. The fact that the magnificent piece of art was sculpted by a person who does not have his sight is so powerful.
So many are blind with their eyes wide open. I pray that God bestow His light on us all so that we can truly see all He has blessed us with.
Holy & gracious God today let my eyes see, my ears hear, my lips speak, my soul search & May the Holy Spirit guide me to that which is noble, right, pure, lovely & admirable.
Have a blessed day

Mark Crain
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
17 days ago

The backstory on the artist is moving, Father Patrick. Thank you. How is this work possible?

I find something new in today’s familiar Gospel story. The blind man responds “let me see again,” which must have been obvious to Jesus and everyone else. I note that Jesus adds: “Your faith has saved you.” Saved you? Jesus does even more than heal the man’s blindness, even more than the man asked Jesus to do.

Last edited 17 days ago by Mark Crain

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