Among Katarzyna Jędrysik-Castellini’s paintings, there is one which is particularly close to me: the one displaying a church’s gallery. Looking at it, I return with my thoughts and my heart to Tuscany, to the cloisters’ galleries, whose walls resound with an old singing of psalms, well forgotten by today.
I am not sure whether you have noticed that the gallery seems to have appeared all of the sudden, behind the corner of a dark corridor, or, behind some door, left half-open. Whether big or small, they are always ideal as to their proportions, regular arrangement of the arcades, perfectly and fully self-contained.
Whenever I am in Florence, I like to pay a visit to some places of concentrated peace, usually located far from tourists’ tumult, and known to only a few, which also yield refreshment in the swelter of the day. They may be tall and spacious, like those of the All Saints’ Church, or the Green Gallery at the Santa Maria Novella (so named after the frescos, hardly visible today, showing four episodes from the Book of Genesis, painted by Paolo Uccello in green tones), or, they may be really small, like the gallery of the Compagnia della Santissima Annunziata. They may be covered with rich frescos, or, appear ascetically bare. All have that specific climate to them, which is so difficult to describe.
Having entered such a gallery area, we get submerged in silence. And let us understand each other well at this point: by this, I do not mean a lack of noise, but rather, that proper and real silence which, like a tender veal, covers your soul and your body, even muffling the incessant tumult of your thoughts, chasing one another continuously. The gallery’s silence makes you stop, even if just for a while.
Within a gallery, the shadow and the light seem to have their respective roles written and allocated in a very precise manner: the former illuminates the middle section, whilst the latter reigns underneath the gallery’s roof. In order to reach for the inner flame which burns and at the same time enlightens your soul, the best thing to do is to select a shadowed place for meditation. To experience a gallery appropriately requires patience. You could obviously enter it and then exit in a hurry, having admired for a while some of the frescos there, or some of the arcades, treating it just as one more artistic experience, giving you some satisfaction, or more than just ‘some’, perhaps. If we, however, decide to stop, to look behind the frescos and arcades, then the gallery will open in front of our eyes: the venue of extraordinary peace.