And you will devote all of your talents, all of your skills, all of your energy to producing tombs worthy of the archbishops and, most especially, worthy of the sanctified beauty of our beloved Basilica. Do you understand?
You will not reprise that crap that you sell to these backward pilgrims, many from the New World, with their coarse clothing and their packs of the fanny.
Rather, you will make such a carving… Your work will echo through the ages. Not only that, it will complement our beautiful and blessed mosaics.
Luigi! Stop staring into space and twirling your hair. Listen to me!
Our most splendid mosaics, which cover the apse and date from the 6th century, still sparkle as if they were completed yesterday. While similar early Christian works were long ago destroyed, Ravenna’s live on in glory and magnificence.
They depict the Byzantine emperor Justinian, stories from the lives of Old Testament prophets, and the Evangelists.
But to you, Luigi, I offer a commission that will make your career. One cannot think of St. Peter's without Bernini. Michelangelo gifted us the Sistine Chapel. And now and forever more our beloved Basilica will be discussed in the same breath as ... Luigi! Si?
Your tombs will form the base of each side of the arch that serves as the entryway into the apse. Your works will support mosaics that depict the Apostles as well as our Lord and Savior. Do you understand the importance of this, Luigi?
Are you willing to work at this until the tombs are as perfect as the mosaics themselves?
Excellent, my son. Blessings on you and the tools of your trade. And remember: I've stuck my neck out for you. Don't screw this up.
Si! Er ... no!
Maybe the other tomb is better...
Per amor di Dio! Portatemi la testa di Luigi!!
While my historical reconstruction may or may not be strictly accurate, what is definitely true is that I felt like a complete idiot photographing these monstrosities in the presence of the mosaics, especially given Heather's searing take down (here and here) of the many tourists who look but don't see. On the bright side, the figure on the right in the photo immediately above seems to have prophesied the coming of ...
So there's that. I'm not sure what the hell the other guys are doing...