Hidden Beneath the Beauty: Kabbalistic secrets in italian art

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Rizzoli First - Art - 344 pages
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In the year 44 before the year Zero in the Gregorian Calendar, Rome holds one of the largest pagan funerals in history, the funeral of Julius Caesar. The Jews of Rome, instead of respectfully filing past, take off their sandals and sit on the ground around the tomb. Why? In 1165 CE, a monk lays down the last tiles in a vast mosaic that covers the entire floor of the Cathedral of Otranto, a port city far down on the heel of the boot that is Italy. It has taken him and his assistants years to create this highly complex and almost psychedelic mishmash of images from ancient mythologies, the Jewish Bible, Christian saints, astrology and even the legend of King Arthur. Why did the monk make this, and what on earth - or in heaven - does it mean? A new century, a new era is born: the Baroque, whose very name means “bizarre, eccentric”. In 1624, the two masters of this new style work together as a team for one of the most sacred projects of the century - the colossal canopy over the main altar of the Catholic world, in St. Peter’s in the Vatican. After nine arduous years, the work is finished - and so is their friendship, forever. What happened? The list goes on and on in an unbroken chain all over Italy, from the foothills of the Alps to the man-made isles of Venice to the wonders of Florence and Rome to the magic of Naples to the ends of Sicily. Even in our days, the secret tradition continues. This book is about that tradition. About a secret message that has carried on throughout the centuries. And about us all.

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About the author (2012)

ROY DOLINER has an extremely eclectic background: his studies include art history, religious history, Italian history, theatre and film. He was the Judaic historical consultant for the film The Nativity Story, the first film in history to have its world premiere at the Vatican. Roy worked side-by-side on site with the director Catherine Hardwicke, now famous for directing the blockbuster Twilight. His book, he Sistine Secrets (co-authored with Rabbi Benjamin Blech) is an international bestseller, published in over 25 countries and in 15 languages. His latest book, Hidden Beneath the Beauty: the Kabbalah of Italia (Rizzoli), has been a success in Italy and foreign deals are under way. Roy is an extremely sought-after public lecturer on an international level. Some of the venues and institutions where he has successfully spoken are: Yale University, the Vatican Museums, the Italian Embassy in Israel, the Knesset in Jerusalem, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, the Spiro Ark of London, the Italian Consulate and Cultural Centre of Toronto, the 92nd St. Y of New York, inter alia. When not on the road, he is often called upon as a docent in Rome and in the Vatican Museums for scholars and international VIP visitors from all countries and all faiths, including ambassadors and journalists. Both in his work and in his life, Roy is always seeking to create and strengthen bonds amongst various faiths and cultures. He is the founder of the cultural association Rome For Jews with the same goal. Self-taught in Italian, Roy spends most of his time in Rome for the last several years and is proud to call it his adopted city. He refers to himself as an emigrant “from the Big Apple to the Big Artichoke”.

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