Lux in Arcana is a must-see exhibition in Rome
For the first time some of the most priceless documents in the Secret Archive of the Vatican will be brought beyond the walls in order to be exhibited at the political centre of Rome, The Capitoline Museums. Officially the exhibition is mounted in order to celebrate the 400 years anniversary of the foundation of the Archives.
Unofficially, however, it must be part of large-scale PR-project fostered as a head-on reaction to the two films (and the books they were based on): The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. (As will be remembered both films were felt as hurtful to the church; especially the first one). At least this is the immediate association one gets while watching the so-called official video promoted at YouTube . Why else let the video be wrapped in such a pastiche of music and visual effects?
Further, of course, the title of the exhibition is in itself revealing: Lux in Arcana. Literally meaning “Light in the mysterious” it refers without doubt to two other prominent events in the late 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries: The Pope’ s speech in Regensburg extolling enlightenment as an intrinsic part of Christianity, and further on the seemingly pervasive growth of the New Age’ers and their fascination with the “Arcana”, symbolised by the two divisions in a pack of Tarot Cards.
And finally: Documents connected with all the “hot” issues are on show; on one hand the damnations of Martin Luther and Frederick Barbarossa, the conviction of Galileo Galilei, papers from the destruction of the Templars Orders etc. And on the other hand the papal bull on the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and a letter from Bernadette Soubirous to Pius IX, probably symbolising the correctly approved dogmas of the Catholic Church. As of now the full content of the exhibition has not been published, and we do not quite know exactly how “Lux” and “Arcana” are to be balanced. So much is for sure: There will be room for debates!
The trial of Giordano Bruno
One of the remarkable documents on show is a summary of the trial of the theologian and philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was condemned for heresy in 1600 and ended up being burnt at the stake in Campo de’ Fiori in the centre of Rome. Most of the records from his trial were lost in the beginning of the 19th century. The summary, which is on show was found by accident in 1940 and is nearly all that remains of the Inquisition’s file on Bruno; in itself it will be a treat to be able to get close to a document like this.
However, not only the document will be on show. On the 29th of February, when the exhibition opens, a sophisticated app will make it possible to focus a tablet or smartphone on the statue of Giordano Bruno at Campo de’ Fiori and see – again and again – his pyre burst into flames, while at the same time enabling a view of the documents related to the trial as well as videos with further information about his life and his ideas. The app will also make it possible to explore other documents in the exhibition with multimedia in-depth contents.
The 100 documents, chosen among app. 85 kilometres of shelved manuscripts, codices, parchments, strings and registers, will remain at the Capitoline Museums for nearly seven months, from the 29th of February until the 9th of September. Accompanying the exhibition will be a catalogue published by Palombi Editori in two versions, both Italian and English.
Read (much more) about the exhibition at the official site Lux in Arcana