Vietnamese appreciate Raphael's religious masterpieces

Exhibition will help people respect spiritual values that are often ignored in a fast-changing society, they say
Vietnamese appreciate Raphael's religious masterpieces

Le Thi Thanh Chau (left) and her daughter Hoang Thi Minh Ngoc enjoy the painting Mother and Fish on Sept. 12 in Ho Chi Minh City. ( photo) reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
September 19, 2017
Many have been inspired with human and religious values by artworks created by an Italian Renaissance artist presented at an exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City.

More than 25 exclusive copies of masterpieces created by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) were on display at the exhibition supported by the city's museum, the Italian Consulate and several Italian organizations.

Among those who visited the exhibition was Le Thi Thanh Chau with her daughter who said they felt motherly love when they studied some of the pictures of Mother Mary holding Jesus.

"Through the paintings, we see what deep love Mother Mary had for Jesus," said Chau, a Buddhist from Vung Tau City. "Motherly love among Vietnamese women is the same."

Visitors likewise admired the picture "Mother and Fish" that depicts Tobias' story on filial love. Tobias was led by the guardian angel to catch fish from a river and took the fish liver to heal his blind father. After that he was led to offer fish to Mary as thanksgiving.

"I am not Catholic but I am moved by Tobias' story and I highly respect Catholicism," Chau, 45, told "Raphael was very good at communicating a message on filial duty."

Chau said the masterpieces created by Raphael show Italian beauty in the Renaissance such as men's righteousness and generosity, and women's soft manners, pure beauty and endearing qualities.

Her daughter, Hoang Thi Minh Ngoc, a student of the University of Architecture, said her art history teacher encouraged students to visit the exhibition, the first of Raphael's masterpieces to tour Asia.

"Raphael is a talented artist who depicted characters in his pictures looking as lively as real people," Ngoc said.

Dang Quang Khai, another visitor, said Raphael's religious masterpieces "show solemnity, sanctity and peace on people's faces of characters and in the background as well."

Khai, 26, said the exhibition will help visitors respect spiritual values that are ignored in a fast-changing society.

Le Thanh Quy, a museum worker, said the exhibition attracts 50 visitors on weekdays and 250 people on weekends. Many local artists came to see the masterpieces and praised Raphael's work.

Organizers said the exhibition marks the third anniversary of the establishment of the Italian Consulate in the city.

Raphael (1483-1520) created over 100 paintings and architectural masterpieces during his life.

The exhibition also is an effort to exchange education, culture, trade and science between the two countries. 

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The Italian Consulate plans to hold an exhibition of paintings by Italian artist Laura Federici and Vietnamese artist Nguyen Dam Thuy Sept. 29 - Oct.7 in the city.

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