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Category Archive for 'Art History'

ShareAmong Platonists, man is mind, intellect, above all else. Man is ordained to think. His province is learning and true wisdom. The rest is flesh and appetite, or, in the phrasing of Timaeus , an Eros of begetting. A common, ignoble thing that resides in the lower precincts of the body and pulls us earthenward, away [...]

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Half a Cloak

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Today is Veterans Day. It is also the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, patron of soldiers.
Martin is my patron saint as well. Back in second grade, when we were asked to pick a saint’s name for Confirmation, I chose Martin. There followed a brief flurry of canonical concern. Was it suitable for a [...]

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ShareBeauty will save the world—a mantra among contemporary Christians issuing from the mouth of a character in nineteenth century Russian fiction.

Augustine’s Beauty has already saved the world. Our ransom has been paid. What matters now is whether the world cooperates with its redemption or flouts it. History will tell in the end. The arts of [...]

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Roger de la Fresnaye (1885-1925) painted strikingly personal, luminous, figure compositions between 1912 and his entry into the French army in 1914. They are among the grandest works of the generation of Picasso and Braque.
During the 1940s, Duncan Phillips called him a “legendary knight.” Neglected might have been the more accurate adjective, but the noun was [...]

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Our Present, Our Art

ShareThe feeling for things in themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.
—Vincent Van Gogh

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
—Psalm 118:24

I love the words of that psalm. They repeat in my heart like a mantra. This is the day —not just today, [...]

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ShareI poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.

—Astronaut [...]

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A Cabinet of Vanities

ShareAmong liturgically concerned responses to the previous post, one of them gave me a start:
On Corpus Christi, at a Manhattan parish, we had to sing an entrance song which begins, “We are here to tell our story, We are here to break the bread, we are here to know our rising from the dead . [...]

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The Hazard of Beauty

ShareTalk of beauty is in the air these days. It has been absent as a reigning value in contemporary art long enough to be provoking interest once again. It is a bit of a jumble though. Everyone wants in on the beauty of the philosophers while reserving for themselves the ascendency of their own taste [...]

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ShareI know many persons who have the purest taste in literature, and yet false taste in art, and it is a phenomenon that puzzles me not a little; but I have never known any one with false taste in books and true taste in pictures.
John Ruskin

John Ruskin was skeptical of the Victorian era’s flourishing publishing [...]

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ShareThis time last year, Studio Matters went on retreat. It withdrew in anticipation of a long, difficult year. The new one promises to be no easier. Still, retreats are meant as preludes to renewal, not abdication. I was reminded of this by a note that came from a lovely and thoughtful artist in Arkansas. She [...]

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