Orkney’s Italian Chapel is a jewel, a relic, a prayer and a tiny beacon of hope.
It’s also a spectacular work of art:
Inside wartime Nissen huts, using wallpaper, cardboard and water-based paints, the artist Domenico Chiocchetti created an intense atmosphere of wonder in complete contrast to the horrors of the Second World War.
His fellow prisoner of war Giuseppe Palumbi created his own furnace to make the ironwork:
It is exceptional, given wartime conditions on Orkney.
Domenico painted many beautiful scenes from within the traditions of the Catholic church. I love the freshness and the simplicity of his depiction of this angel with a trumpet. He has rendered it with such economy of brush strokes:
One of my favourite images is of the winged lion. If you can believe that angels exist and have wings then it’s not too much of a stretch to believe lions can have wings too:
The winged lion is the symbol of Venice and of St Mark. The words, “Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus”, mean “Peace to you Mark, my Evangelist”.
Peace to you Domenico, artist supreme.