Monumental Cloak of Conscience
The Monumental Cloak is sponsored and will constitute the Center of the Anna Chromy Museum in The Hague
THE CLOAK OF CONSCIENCE AS A SIGN OF HOPELeon Tolstoy defines in his book “What is Art” as the surest sign to be in the presence of a piece of real art the fact that it expresses the deepest feelings of the artist, and as such touches our soul.
Since the creation of my first Cloak sculpture in 1990, I have been trying to understand the incredible attraction of this work for people of different ages, religions or cultural background and I have come to the solution that there must be a connection with the opinion expressed by Tolstoy.
I have in fact created my first Cloak after having overcome one of the darkest periods in my life. A terrible accident had abruptly stopped my promising career as a painter and there seemed to be no future for me as artist. A terrible situation. I had two possibilities: resignation or fight. I decided to fight.
It is said that Hope dies last, and it was this hope for a recovery and a renewed life as artist that kept me alive. I had no experience in sculpture. So, I went one day in my garden, took a few basic objects and materials and decided to create the three-dimensional figure of the empty Cloak, envisioned in a painting before my accident. My Cloak is therefore the purest expression of feelings in all of my works.
Now I am, together with people in all countries of the world, again in a very dark hour because of the Covid19 pandemic. We can only change this all together. As the appearance of such infectious diseases is related to the impact of human activities on the environment and on biodiversity, all of us have to engage in this fight for a better future.
The Cloak of Conscience that expresses the deepest feelings of Hope shall be our guide and symbol.
Creating a sculpture from such a large block of marble was never going to be easy. Here, over a five year span, we document with pictures, just what was involved, from the Michelangelo Quarry, where the block came from, to its completion five years later at the Michelangelo Studio, Carrarra, Italy
Since Antiquity, people associate special powers with precious and semi-precious stones. The purity of white marble is said to be especially powerful for meditation and the healing of injured souls. The interior Void of the Cloak, with the walls cut like diamonds, give visitors a first-hand experience of these forces.
The Void reminds us, that the essential nature of reality is emptiness, the very source of all life and all forms. Dharma kaya in Buddhism, Brahma in Hinduism, the Tao of Lao Tzu and the Soul in Christianism, pervade all material things in the Universe and reflect the enlightened wisdom in the human mind.
Compassion, Peace, Harmony are the attitudes much needed in our convulsed times. The “Cloak of Conscience” as “Philosophers Stone” shall guide us to find the path out of the current deadlock.
Every visitor will be able to experience the beneficial influence of the energy of the Cloak and achieve a state of emotional and intellectual enlightenment.
It is a sculpture, made from the material used for Michelangelo’s David and Bernini’s Angels, the white Carrara marble of Cave Michelangelo, a crystalline rock of the highest quality.
It is the largest sculpture ever to be sculpted into one single block of 250 tons, a giant gemstone. It is sculpted in its interior as well, to allow experiencing the energy and the purity of marble, inductive to meditation and healing of the soul.
The creator of this masterwork is a widely acknowledged artist, laureate of the Michelangelo, Dali and Kafka Prize, the Golden Medal of the City of Prague, a Honorary Professor of the National Sculpture Academy of China, and more.
Like the Philosopher’s Stone, the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfections at its finest, enlightenment and heavenly bliss, the sculpture is conceived as the universal symbol of conscience, tolerance and peace.
There is only one original available, impossible to reproduce a second time.
The Power of the Cloak:
Genius loci and Anima Mundi
Symbol of Empathy
In the wake of a series of contagious epidemics, the fourteenth century witnessed the birth of paintings representing the concept of the mantle, or Cloak, of the Mother of Jesus as an impregnable refuge. Images of the ‘Mother of Mercy’ proliferated in succeeding centuries too, in all shapes and sizes; in some, the role of protector was assigned to Saint Sebastian portrayed defending poor unfortunates from a hail of arrows shot by ‘plague angels’.
Famines and deadly viruses continue to threaten the lives of many millions round the globe, often in distant countries far from the hearts and minds of the developed world.
But an artist is, by definition, one who is in deep Empathy with Creation as a whole. It is not surprising, therefore, that Anna Chromy, has, during several years created a work (which since has become the center of her artistic expression), which has become a reference point for many endangered peoples and their cultures.
The ‘Cloak of Conscience’ is an altar to divine mercy and embodies the hope of salvation for a world ever more subjected to disasters of one form or another.
Mindful of the need to go beyond individual religions, the artist transfers an ancient apotropaic gesture, the offer of a cloak, to a figure that transcends, in its universal relevance, this or that religion. Each individual thus becomes the master of his spiritual destiny.
The ‘Cloak of Conscience’ is at the same time a Shield against the evils of the world and a Shelter for the individual soul.
It’s a place of redemption and an unequivocal summons to resurrect the ideal of the brotherhood of men’, an ideal, now more than ever, of vital importance. The unexpected pandemic finds us fragile, unprepared, but it is exactly under this archetypical garment, signed by Anna Chromy, that our individual prayers become the prayers of the community.
Time and again, we have heard alarm bells ringing warning us to inflict less damage to our next and to the planet, and yet we have continued to allow purely material needs to dominate our lives and choices. Now we can no longer act like children playing in a delightful nursery full of toys to take or break: we must grow up.
The austere figure of the ‘The Cloak of Conscience’, situated at just the right distance from our busy world, bending slightly over the emptiness within her, suggests a chrysalis waiting to host whoever wishes to be transformed. In her womb she nourishes a treasure, the procreative force of solitude, till now known to only the few, but now, after our experience of lockdown, made familiar to vast numbers of people. Quarantine has weaned us somewhat of our worldly cares.
Anna Chromy has had the honor to install ‘Cloaks of Conscience’ in countries all over the world. They can be found in locations rich in significance and history where they have espoused the identity of the genius loci, and in some cases received new names. There is, however, one work, sculpted into a 250-ton block of Carrara marble, in, which unite all other Cloaks of the different latitudes and longitudes.
Just as the branches of the Tree of Life, another of Anna Chromy’s iconic works, connect all beings to the sky, so the various ‘Cloaks of Conscience’ around the world are all present in their Carrara marble ‘mother figure’. Through her, they are connected to the origin, the sense of the sacred that has been all but lost to our world.
Each exemplar is a fragment of Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World, a projection of the ineffable mystery. Each of them is unique, but at the same time part of a primordial unity to which to return. This is true both for human beings and for these sculptures: they represent the innumerable variations and manifestations of the universal life principle, the Soul of the World.
This is the final identity of the ‘Cloak of Conscience’ in its monumental marble version: a spiritual value, which, though present in the experience of many mystics, goes beyond boundaries, be they cultural, linguistic or religious, and reminds us that the world is one living, pulsating reality in which all its components are interconnected.
The millions of masks now being handed out round the world may well not suffice: stronger, more lasting protection is needed, and this may be found in the Cloak of the eternally Great.
Translated from Italian