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Parma Baptistery: a secret language


A unique artist, architect, engineer and sculptor, is called to build the Baptistery of Parma.
He affixes his signature to the architrave of the north portal: SCULPTOR BENEDICTUS.
His technical ability, his deep theological culture and his genius make this building a real stone book, full of symbols and stories.
I imagine the amazement of those who were witnessing its creation.


The year isn't over yet but I think of the people I've accompanied so far in front of and inside the Baptistery.
Schools, foreign tourists, citizens of Parma, people of different ages and religions.
It always amazes me how deeply this structure manages to touch people.
Sometimes thanks to a detail unexpected in a medieval structure, to the expression of a statue, to the elegant balance of the whole, to the thousand meanings hidden in the capitals.
As for me, there is a small inset in the West Portal's Works of Mercy that amazes me.
It represents God as an old man with a long beard, bowing (literally) to wash a man's feet.
A gesture of humble service, a gesture of love gracefully balanced by the back foot of the Elder.
An artistically arched foot, as in an elegant dance step.

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