Sigismund explained children looking at the Moon

Erica Angelini – Elena Savini: “Sigismund and the Influence of the Moon. A Fantastic Journey Into the Chapel of the Planets “- Maggioli.

This book for young people aged 6 to 10 years was born within the project “Laboratories at the Temple” held in 2020, promoted by the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences “A. Marvelli” of Rimini, with the patronage of the Diocese of Rimini.The aim of the workshop was to accompany children and teenagers to discover the Malatesta Temple, the cathedral basilica in the city of Rimini.

The basic idea of ​​this project “Born out of the belief that it is essential for the youngest to form a careful and sensitive view of the reality that surrounds us and that constitutes our identity. In that sense, the cultural heritage can become a valuable didactic tool to get to know oneself and the world ”.

Written by Elena Savinimedieval archaeologist, who has been involved in the teaching of Cultural Heritage for over twenty years, and magnificently illustrated by Erica Angelini, a medieval archaeologist and teacher of literature in high school, she has also worked for over twenty years as an expert in the didactic laboratories at Rimini’s schools and museums. He has always invented, designed and built stories and characters for his workshops.

Why this picture book? The authors respond as follows: As a work of art, the illustrated book promotes what can be defined as an aesthetic education: a stimulation of the senses needed to live life with enthusiasm, curiosity and interest. In particular, the illustrated register is a basic didactic communication tool to ensure that a vital and dynamic relationship is established with the work it tells about. “

The register itself contains the possibility of a double reading: a narrative in which it is told how the young Sigismondo Malatesta will become aware of his own worth and abilities; the other will instead bring us into the symbolism of the figures, plants, and animals present in the Malatesta temple. This trail will allow children to visit Malatesta Templeone of the jewels of the Italian Renaissance, more conscious and interesting.
The appendix to the register is important to give students the interpretive keys to what is being told and to what they will see during the site visit to the Malatesta Temple.

Roberto Valturio (1405-1475), i “They’re military” written between 1446 and 1455, it states that Sigismondo himself is to be regarded as the main creator of the figurative themes of the Malatesta temple. “The whole iconographic project certainly reflects the learned and classical taste of the court of Rimini, which included Valturio and Basinio da Parma (1425-1457), who supported the prince in shaping these themes”.

The illustrations in the register are engraved in the pillars of the chapel’s pointed arch dedicated to Saint Hieronymus (third chapel on the right), a church doctor with a great humanistic culture and a connoisseur of science and astronomy. “The interest in astrology and astronomy, born at the court of the Carolingian kings, was motivated by the belief that the fate of men depended on the stars. “

There are seven planets sculpted by Agostino di Duccio (1418-1481) in 1455, represented as Olympic deities along the median band of the arch, with the Sun between the nearest, the Moon, and the farthest, Saturn in the center.

Although inspired by classical and pagan literary sources, the one represented in the chapel of San Girolamo is a heaven animated by a religious concept: “God has determined the location of all stars and guarantees the orderly motion, which in turn regulates the change of seasons, which guarantees abundance on Earth. And it is for this reason that marble baskets are carved at the bottom of the arc’s columns, from rebellion of the fruits of the earth appears ”.
The opening words of the story are the following: “My name is Sigismondo and I was one of the most famous gentlemen in Rimini. My name and my story are linked to the Malatesta Temple which I had built myself so that my life and my business could be remembered over time”.

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta was born in Brescia on 19 June 1417 and died in Rimini on 9 October 1468. He was lord of Rimini and Fano from 1432, only fifteen, and was considered one of the most daring Italian leaders. The Malatesta Temple, whose final layout was entrusted to Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), but which was never completed, became the focal point of Sigismondo’s protectionist activity as well as the site of his burial. Inside is the Malatesta rose, a symbol of beauty, and the elephant Sigismondo’s favorite heraldic emblems. To the elephant “Numerous qualities are recognized, such as strength, caution, and intelligence, but above all the reference to the great Roman leader Scipio the African, whose descendants Sigismondo boasts of belonging.”

The authors finally write: “At the same time as an education for the gaze, it is necessary to work on an education for images: the image is in fact a language consisting of gestures in code, architectural conventions and symbols, without whose understanding it is impossible to comprehend the beauty of what we “Educating young people in the language of art and beauty means getting them used to feeling amazement, curiosity and wonder, feelings of openness to the world and therefore on the basis of any kind of knowledge”.

We hope that the message that the authors send to teachers and educators will be gathered and put into practice to help young people understand the beauties, starting with the knowledge of the Malatesta Temple, which is present in large numbers in our city. .

Paolo Zaghini

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