A Photo A Week: Gold

Baptized in Gold

Chapel of John the Baptist, Church of St. Roch, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s Church of St. Roch is awash with gold. The Chapel of St John the Baptist, ordered by King Juan V in 1540, was constructed in Rome, blessed by the pope, then disassembled and shipped to Lisbon on three ships. It was said to be the most expensive chapel ever built at the time. The scene of John the Baptist above the altar is a micro mosaic, not a painting. The overt use of gold was a celebration of the glories of Portugal’s expansion around the world and the riches the colonies brought to the kingdom.

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Bring Me the Head of John the Baptist

In the collection of the Cathedral’s museum in Seville.

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