Year B, Proper 26 - The Greatest Commandment
Year B, Proper 26, Revised Common Lectionary
Baccio Baldini: The Holy Mountain
What is the most important commandment? We find Jesus’ answer in this print dating from 1477 after a drawing by Botticelli.
On the rungs of the ladder on which a monk is climbing up, all kinds of characteristics are written in Italian, which could be considered the results of loving ‘God with your whole heart, soul, strength and mind.’ They are the four cardinal virtues (wisdom, righteousness, strength and moderation), the seven gifts of the Sprit from Isaiah 11:2 and the fear of the Lord (timore) from Proverbs 9:10. Love (carita) is also mentioned, close to Jesus on the cross.
Below the monk we see a devilish creature with a grappling hook in his hand, attempting to pull down the young man by means of blindness (cecita). However, he cites Psalm 121:1: ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains… My help comes from the Lord.’
While the young man is looking to Christ in heaven, the monk looks to Christ on the cross and says: ‘Tirami doppo te, draw me [up] after you.’
Looking is important here, because in that time it was thought that you become what you direct your eyes at. If you keep looking to Jesus, you will progressively become more like Jesus and he will help you to love God with all that is in you.
Baccio Baldini (Italian, c. 1436-1487): The Holy Mountain, folio 3 from The Holy Mountain (Monte Sancto di Dio), 1477, Engraving in black with letterpress on verso, on ivory laid paper, coloured with tempera, 257 x 185 mm (plate); 275 x 189 mm (sheet). Text by Antonio Bettini, Bishop of Foligno (Italian, 1396-1487).
Year B, Proper 26, Revised Common Lectionary, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Sunday closest to November 2
Scripture readings: Job 42:1-6, 10-17, Psalm 34:1-8, (19-22), Hebrews 7:23-28, Mark 10:46-52
Baccio Baldini (c. 1436 – buried 12 December 1487) was an Italian goldsmith and engraver of the Renaissance, active in his native Florence. All that is known of Baldini's life, apart from the date of his burial in Florence, is what Vasari says of him: that Baldini was a goldsmith and pupil of Maso Finiguerra, the Florentine goldsmith who was, according to Vasari's incorrect claim, the inventor of engraving. Vasari says Baldini based all of his works on designs by Sandro Botticelli because he lacked disegno himself. Today Baldini is best remembered for his collaboration with Botticelli on the first printed Dante in 1481, where it is believed the painter supplied the drawings for Baldini to turn into engravings, but it does not seem to be the case that all his work was after Botticelli. He has long been attributed with a number of other engravings as the leading practitioner of the Florentine Fine Manner of engraving, this rather tentatively; he is often given a "workshop" or "circle" to ease uncertainty. In total he made over 100 prints, characterized by rather sharp, often deeply incised outlines: similar deeply-cut graver work for the features, for the ample ornament of the costumes, and for the architecture; and extremely fine lines, organized into rather fuzzy cross-hatching, for the shading, which often gives the draperies an almost furry look.