Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Art as Meditation pt. 1

On Sunday after I was done with my weekend workshop for Phi Mu Alpha, I spent some time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I went there specifically to see the Medieval and Renaissance Art. I could care less about most art after around 1800. To me, these are devotional items. should say at the outset that I went there for meditation, not to see good looking pictures. A walk through this museum’s Medieval and Renaissance could be nothing less to a serious Catholic but a meditation if you ask me. But then again, who knows. When I think of all the people who worshipped around these images it makes me think of how unified we are in the Body of Christ not only in today’s world but throughout the ages. I even had a chance to hum a tune out of a gradual from the 1300s.

It’s been a while since I viewed this kind of art up close…a long while.

This altar is one of the first things I saw. I When I approached this huge altar piece all I could think about Is that at one time, for probably hundreds of years, Holy Mass was celebrated just below it. The detail is so intricate, and my cell phone picture doesn’t really do it justice. This is a “carved catechism” and its stunning.

This one has a much more famous look to it. Many of these paintings are nearly identical. Its almost like the artists tried to either outdo each other or copy each other from memory. Perhaps the similarity comes from icon tradition. I'm not an art scholar, so anyone who wants to chime in please do.

Here we see the Pope approving the rule of St. Francis. How appropriate for this 800th anniversary of the order! This was painted I think just about 100 years after its approval.

This is only part of a painting. Here we see St. Gregory saying mass as Christ comes down off of the crucifix.

I tried to “unfuzzy” this one a bit and was only somewhat successful. The colors are even more impressive in person. I love this stuff!

Part II as soon as I get the other photos off my phone.

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