In collaboration with BeWeb, the portal of the ecclesiastical archives and libraries of Italy, the Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library, at the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, has prepared an exhibition in the format of a virtual tour. The purpose of this initiative is to help raise awareness of the Ignatian tradition on a platform that allows people from all over the world to have access to works of art that are normally kept in protected places and not accessible to the public.
On June 5, however, the Library prepared a “physical” exhibition of several of the works featured on BeWeb and opened its doors to visitors. The guest speaker, Fr. Bernardo Gantier, Jesuit of the Pio Latino Americano College, himself a historian and artist, presented the material on display and contextualized it from the perspective of one of the features of Ignatian spirituality, the encounter between fantasy and rigour. The historian pointed out that Saint Ignatius’ personality had led him, from an early age, to imagine, to dream of greatness. His spiritual journey preserved these traits and reoriented them, but his interest in pilgrimage and novelty never left him. The application of the senses, in Ignatian spirituality, allows precisely a form of “play”: to make oneself present in the narrated events. His inner pilgrimage led him to enter the intimacy of the Trinity... and all the way to Glory.
This is what Brother Andrea Pozzo, an artist-painter, has been able to convey in his masterly works. Part of Beweb’s exhibition is dedicated to him. Also highlighted are the works of Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit whose playful spirit has led to true scientific intuitions, and those of Angelo Secchi, who is considered the father of astrophysics and who, if his work was above all marked by rigour, needed fantasy to venture into the world of the stars.
To better understand the history and spirit behind this virtual exhibition, you are invited to read the presentation (in Italian) made by the Director of the Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library, Fr. Raúl González. He wrote, among other things, “It is a source of pride and cultural wealth for the library to possess and preserve these treasures of books, to transmit them to future generations fascinated by the history and spirituality of an Order that has never lost its appearance.”
Click here to access the BeWeb website.