Right from the opening shot, exquisitely lit and framed, it's clear that Antonioni is in complete control of this film and that the experience will be haunting you all the way home (and for a great deal of time afterward). The film's hushed and delicate construction is stunning, and the entire audience sat in their seats silently and in total awe, fearful that any sound or movement would cause the entire film to crumble.
Antonioni begins with an intricate study of the sculpture, examining it in painstaking detail while with his unmatchable composition he creates his own work of art out of it. Moses' gaze is examined and juxtaposed with Antonioni's own frail visage and it is difficult to tell whose gaze is more tortured or more beautiful.
At one point special attention is given to the crevices in the statue, the black shadows and negative space in the folds of Moses' robe and the place where his arms meet his sides. Then Antonioni begins gently caressing the sculpture, and as his hand turns toward the light we see the crevices, the negative space of the wrinkles in his palms, and we see that he has become a part of the work of art. It is a harrowing reminder of the mortality of the artist in light of the immortality of his work.
At the end of the film some vocal music from Palestrina arrives, heavenly but distant. It seems to beckon Antonioni from outside and he slowly leaves Moses and walks into the blue light coming from outside the building. The final shot is incomparably beautiful. I can describe what it is, technically - there's nothing particularly special about a wide shot of a man walking out of a church - but I can't think of any way to describe in words how precisely and assuredly it is shot. Like every other frame of the film, it is as beautiful an image as I have ever seen in the cinema, or in any visual art.