Magnum Chaos  

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Magnum Chaos (c. 1524 ) by Lorenzo Lotto
Magnum Chaos (c. 1524 ) by Lorenzo Lotto

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Magnum Chaos[1] (c. 1524) is one of the intarsia of the choir of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. These were designed by Lorenzo Lotto and cut by Giovan Francesco Capoferri. The 'Magnum Chaos' intarsia is a representation of cosmogonical chaos.

It depicts a sun with in its center an eye which has no body but two arms and hands and two legs and feet.

The illustration (right) is depicted inverted, the original design is upside down[2] to denote the falling through chaos, which happens in all directions, not just down.

"Of the cover panels, the most demonic is probably the one designed to embody the story of Genesis. A strange being – two hands and feet conjoined around a single eye – appears, upside down, at the centre of ten expanding circles surrounded by 40 flames. ‘Magnum’ is inscribed at the top of the image and ‘Chaos’ below. Kabbalist numerology associates the number of circles with the ten emanations of God (in Genesis, ‘God said’ is repeated ten times) and that of the flames with the 40 weeks of pregnancy and the 40 days Isaiah and Jesus spent in the desert."--Jan Verwoert[3]

See also

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