Monday, November 30, 2015

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

In this first week of Advent, a painting that portrays Mary as the bridge between the Old Testament and the New:

Annunciation, Van Eyck, from the National Museum of Art

From the Museum page for this masterpiece:

The Annunciation described by Saint Luke is interpreted in terms of actuality in this painting, which was probably once the left wing of a triptych. The forms—even that of the archangel—seem to have weight and volume. Light and shadow play over them in a natural way, and with amazing skill, Jan van Eyck has distinguished between the textures of materials ranging from hard, polished stone to the soft, fragile petals of flowers.

Yet religious symbolism speaks from every detail, expounding the significance of the Annunciation, and the relationship of the Old Testament to the New. The structure of the church can be interpreted symbolically; the dark upper story, with its single, stained–glass window of Jehovah, may refer to the former era of the Old Testament, while the lower part of the building, already illuminated by the "Light of the World" and dominated by transparent, triple windows symbolizing the Trinity, may refer to the Era of Grace of the New Testament. The idea of passing from old to new is further manifested in the transition from the Romanesque round-arched windows of the upper story to the early Gothic pointed arches of the lower zone, and also in the depictions on the floor tiles:  David beheading Goliath and Samson destroying the Philistine temple are both Old Testament events in the salvation of the Jewish people which prefigure the salvation of humankind through the coming of Christ.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

Verse on the Nativity of Christ (by St Romanos the Melodist)
They look to me, those who were cast out
of the Paradise of pleasure, for I bring them back.
May all things understand that, through me, you have been born
a little Child, God before the ages.

Cathy France is a Catholic artist in Arkansas with degrees in Fine Arts and Theology.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

From the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom:

It is truly meet and right to bless you, O Theotokos,
Ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim,
Without defilement you gave birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify you!
Follower of the Boucicaut Master (French, active about 1390 - 1430)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

Contemporary artist Caroline Jennings returns to the Annunciation frequently in her  boundary-pushing but intriguing work.

Annunciation with Yellow Dress (2006) could be a romance scene—in fact, the image is tagged with  “annunciation”, “couple” and “romantic”—but the the lily, the book resting on a stool, the prayerful pose of the woman in the yellow dress and the descending dove all evoke traditional Annunciation scenes. While the woman in the yellow dress fits within the space afforded by the canvas, Gabriel's legs and outstretched arm all extend past the boundaries the canvas provides. He is larger than life, an emissary from another realm, a fitting reminder of "things above" on this All Souls Day.' alt='The Annunciation' title='The Annunciation' style='border: none;'>

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

From St Alban's Cathedral (St Albans, England), a detail from the Annunciation window: