André Romijn’s oil painting, enriched by the context of Antonio Vivaldi’s motet “Nulla in mundo pax sincera,” embodies a profound commentary on the human condition. The piece is a visual recitative, mirroring the poignant sentiments of the motet’s lyrics. Just as Vivaldi’s composition reflects on the illusory nature of worldly peace and the inner turmoil that often lies beneath a serene facade, Romijn’s painting captures a similar duality.
The subject’s expression is enigmatic; her eyes hold a depth that suggests an awareness of the world’s deceitful charms mentioned in the motet. The chiaroscuro technique — the strong contrasts between light and dark — is used masterfully to illustrate the hidden wounds the text speaks of. There is softness to the subject, yet also resilience, as if she has experienced the world’s duplicity and emerged with a quiet strength.
A timeless reflection
Romijn’s choice to create a series of paintings for each part of the motet underscores the multi-layered nature of human emotions and experiences. This particular painting, which aligns with the recitative section of the motet, seems to capture the moment of realization and reflection—a pause in the narrative where the deeper truths are considered.
The artwork’s evocative power is heightened by Romijn’s style, which nods to the past yet speaks to contemporary audiences. The timeless quality of the subject’s visage and the introspective mood resonate with the historical persistence of human strife and deceit, suggesting that the concerns of Vivaldi’s time remain relevant.
The painting’s thematic focus on the discrepancy between appearance and reality, and the search for a peace that is not tainted by worldly bitterness, is a timeless reflection on the quest for sincerity and authenticity amidst life’s complexities.
The title that encapsulates the essence of both the painting and the motet “Eyes of Truth in a Veiled World”, conveys the idea of a vision that sees through the facades of the world, recognizing the enduring search for genuine peace that has traversed centuries.
Click HERE for more info about this sacred motet composed by Antonio Vivaldi
‘Nulla in mundo pax sincera’ is a sacred motet (RV630) composed by Antonio Vivaldi in 1735 to an anonymous Latin text. In 18th-century, a motet was defined as a sacred vocal work with a non-litugical Latin verse. The tile of this motet can be translated as ‘In this world there is no honest peace’ or ‘There is no true peace in this world without bitterness’. Vivaldi’s motets were intended as show pieces for one of the female musicians of the Figlie di Coro of the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. This piece was created for a soprano of exceptionally high range (from E above middle C to the B a twelfth higher) and is one of the most interesting of Vivaldi’s early motets for the Pietà.
‘Nulla in mundo pax sincera’ consists of three parts, Aria; Recitative; Aria, followed by a concluding Alleluia. This painting is part of a series of four.
Blando colore oculos mundus decepit
at occulto vulnere corda conficit;
fugiamus ridentem, vitemus sequentem,
nam delicias ostentando arte secura
vellet ludendo superare.
This world deceives the eye by surface charms,
but corroded hearts with hidden wounds.
Let us flee him who smiles, shun him who follows us,
for by skilfully displaying its pleasures, this world
overwhelms us by deceit
- Size (h w d): 30 x 37.5 x 1 cm
- Medium: Oil
- Framed Size (h w d): 45 x 52 x 5 cm
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