Olivuccio di Ciccarello, “The Works of Mercy”, 1404, tempera and gilding on poplar, Vatican Museums, Art Gallery © Musei Vaticani
These paintings depict the Works of Mercy. The iconographic theme is inspired by the Gospel of Matthew, in which Christ teaches the righteous how to reach the Kingdom of Heaven. The Works of Mercy are: To feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, and to host pilgrims, which in this scene are depicted together; to clothe the naked; to help the sick; to visit prisoners; and, to bury the dead, which was added during the Middle Ages. This artwork is a witness to faith, as well as a historical document. It is also a work of theology: In these scenes, the needy person resembles the figure of Christ, who is represented with a golden halo around His head. What is done to the least of His brothers and sisters is done to Him.
(Pope Francis – Ash Wednesday – 5 March 2014)
Under the direction of Paolo Ondarza
Instagram: @vaticanmuseums @VaticanNews