Caritas
Elisa Kay Sparks
Caritas

Fall 2004
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This color-reduction woodcut with silkscreen over printing was part of a print
exchange on virtues and vices.  The image is taken from Giotto's fresco of Charity
in the Arena Chapel in Padua. I had particularly liked this image when I saw it
because it so perfectly illustrated the neoplatonic doctrine of exchange that I had
learned about in reading Edgar Wind's
Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance, a long
time ago in an undergraduate art history class.  The sentences surrounding the
wood cut refer to this idea: that there is a cycle of giving and receiving that
constitutes love. Wind describes this rhythm of exchange as being the iconography
behind the linked figure of the three Graces in Botticelli and other renaissance
artists, including Pico Della Mirandola whose medallion is silk screened below the
woodcut.  Wind explains:

The triple rhythm of generosity consists of giving, acceptance, and returning. . .
The three phases must be interlocked in a dance as are the Graces,
otherwise called Charities.