Release from Deception

In summer of 2019, I had the joy of traveling to Italy. During my time there, I met up with my sister who lives in Istanbul and we took a day trip from Rome to Naples. Our main goal was to see a sculpture called The Veiled Christ located in Cappella Sansevero, a deconsecrated church that is now a museum. It is an amazing work of art that I will share with you another time. Today I want to introduce to another sculpture in the same museum. It is aptly named The Release from Deception by Genoese artist Francesco Queirolo.

One thing that makes this sculpture so remarkable is that it was carved from a single piece of marble. It took Queirolo seven years to complete and he had no apprentice to assist him nor did he use any machinery. Only his hands and sculpting tools.

The detailing and realism are amazing. Just look at the intricacy of the net. According to the museum, the net symbolizes worldly sin and the man is trying to free himself from its clutches. The winged angel is the symbol of intellect, indicated by the flame on her forehead. She is doing her best to help free the man from the intricate netting as she points to the globe at his feet, a symbol of worldly passions. She wants him to know that it is the world which has wrapped him in the net of sin. Next to the globe is an open Bible which has a passage written in Latin: “I will break thy chain, the chain of the darkness and long night of which thou art a slave so that thou might not be condemned with this world.”

Sin is like a net that slowly envelops us. Often, we don’t realize how much we are in its grips. I’m reminded of the song, “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns.

It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to gray
And thoughts invade, choices made
A price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade

How do we recognize the slow fade? Chances are we need a conviction from God that drives us to his grace. Sometimes that comes from the loving truth-telling of a good friend. Sometimes from God’s Word. Sometimes through thoughtful reflection and confession. Perhaps these words from Psalm 139 could become our prayer:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.

Being Human connection: “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.” ~Colossians 2:8

Featured art: Francesco Queirolo, The Release from Deception, 1754, Cappella Sansevero, Naples