Resources

David Jones’ view of Lourdes at Kettle’s Yard

July 13, 2024

“Lourdes” David Jones, 1928, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge.  In May of 1928, the Catholic artist, David Jones, stayed at the Monastery of Dominican Nuns in Lourdes. It is situated on high ground overlooking the Grotto from across the river and this

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WINFRED NICHOLSON’S FLODIGARRY ISLAND, SKYE

July 6, 2024

“Flodigarry, Island, Skye” Winifred Nicholson, 1949, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge.  In 1948, he artist, Winifred Nicholson, spent a fortnight on Skye with her three children.  She stayed near the home of the Jacobite heroine, Flora MacDonald and loved the romantic associations. 

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SPIRAL OF STONES

June 29, 2024

“Spiral of Stones” Jim Ede 1958, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge.  In about 1958 Jim Ede arranged 76 limestone pebbles in a spiral on a table in Kettle’s Yard.  Kettle’s Yard is the name given to a series of interconnected cottages in

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Shipwreck 2,  The Wreck of the Alba” by Alfred Wallis

June 22, 2024

“Shipwreck 2,  The Wreck of the Alba” Alfred Wallis, 1938-40, Kettle’s Year, Cambridge.  In January 1938 the steamship Alba, carrying coal from Wales to Civitavecchia, encountered a severe storm in the Bristol Channel.  Some of the crew described the waves

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DAVID JONES’ VEXILLA REGIS

June 15, 2024

“Vexilla Regis”, David Jones, 1948, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. In 1947 David Jones was admitted to Bowden House at Harrow for psychiatric care.  In front of his window there was huge cedar of Lebanon, with a chestnut tree on one side

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The Crucifixion at Moone

June 8, 2024

I am still focused on the 10th Century High Cross at Moone, Co. Kildare.  This week I want to draw your attention to the crucifixion scene which is directly above the twelve apostles on the west side of the cross. 

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THE LOAVES AND FISHES AT MOONE

June 1, 2024

  The 10th Century High Cross at Moone, Co. Kildare, is the finest example of what are known as scripture crosses, named after the Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnois which is referred in the Annals (1060) as Cross na

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THE HIGH CROSS AT MOONE CO. KILDARE

May 25, 2024

The 10th Century High Cross at Moone, Co. Kildare, stands almost 5m tall, making it the second tallest such cross in Ireland.   It is remarkably well preserved.  This  is due to the fact that it was buried in the

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PENTECOST AT SANTO DOMINIGO DE SILOS

May 18, 2024

“Pentecost”, late 11th century,, Cloister, Abbey of Santo Silos de Domingo, Burgos, Spain.   This relief showing Pentecost should really be viewed alongside the relief of the Ascension.  They are o the same pillar in the cloister of Santo Domingo

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ASCENSION AT SANTO DOMINGO DE SILOS

May 17, 2024

  “The Ascension”, late 11th century,, Cloister, Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos Spain.  At first glance this does not look like the Ascension.  It becomes a bit more like it,  when you understand that the wave like carving

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Chagall’s Fall Of Icarus

May 3, 2024

“The Fall of Icarus”,  Marc Chagall, 1974-77, Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris.  In his later years Chagall (1887 -1985) often painted Icarus, but this one was painted when he was in his late 80’s.  Chagall was a Jew, who had survived

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CIMA DA CONGELIOANO’S INCREDULITY OF ST THOMAS AND BISHOP MAGNUS

April 6, 2024

  “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas and the Bishop Saint Magnus”,  Cima da Conegliano, 1504-1505,  Gallerie dell’ Accademia, Venice.    This commission came from a guild of builders. The association of St Thomas with builders derives from the account of

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March 23, 2024

“Crucifixion”  Fra Angelico, c.1427, San Domenico, Fiesole, Florence. Fra Angelico painted the crucified Christ many many times. But this one is different. First, over Christ’s head he usually just put the capitals INRI, but here there is the full title

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Caravaggio’s Entombment of Christ

March 9, 2024

“The Entombment of Christ”, Caravaggio, 1602/3, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome.  (originally in Chiesa Nuova, where there is good replica in situ) Nicodemus stares out at us as he and St John lower the dead body of Christ into the tomb. Everything

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Stanley Spencer’s Christ in the Wilderness

February 17, 2024

“Christ in the Wilderness -The Hen”, Stanley Spencer c. 1954, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.   Stanley Spencer spent the winter of 1938/39 living alone in a room in 188 Adelaide Road near Swiss Cottage in London.  There he

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Ghirlandaio’s Vocation of the Apostle’s from the Sistine Chapel

January 19, 2024

Vocation of the Apostles”, Domenico Ghirlandaio,   c. 1481, North Wall, Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. 

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Bellin’s Madonna and Child with John the Baptist and a female Saint

January 13, 2024

  “The Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist and a Female Saint in a Landscape”,  Giovanni Bellini, c.1501, Gallerie dell’ Accademia, Venice. For comment see this week’s newsletter. 

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Piero’s Baptism of Christ

December 16, 2023

“The Baptism of Christ”, Piero della Francesca, 1442-5, National Gallery, London.   One way to see this painting is as a meditation on the line from John’s Prologue which we read today: “The true light that enlightens every man was

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Morris Meredith Williams’ Bridge at Wasnes

November 11, 2023

  For comment on this painting, please see this weeks newsletter. latest-newsletter

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EL GRECO’S ST MARTIN AND THE BEGGAR

November 4, 2023

“St Martin and the Beggar”, El Greco, 1597-99, National Gallery of Art, Washington.  For a comment on this painting see this week’s newsletter.

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El Greco’s Burial of the Count of Orgaz

October 28, 2023

  “The Burial of the Count Of Orgaz”, El Greco, 1588, Church of San Tomé, Toledo.   For comment see this week’s newsletter.     

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Guercino’s St Luke Displaying a painting of the Virgin

October 14, 2023

“Saint Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin”, Guercino, 1652-53, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.  For comment, see this week’s newsletter. 

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Caravaggio’s Madonna of the Rosary

September 30, 2023

  “Madonna of the Rosary”, Caravaggio, 1604/05 (?),  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemäldegalerie, Vienna. For a comment on this painting, see this week’s newsletter. 

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Caravaggio’s St Jerome at Valletta

September 23, 2023

“St Jerome” 1607/08, Caravaggio, Museum of St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valetta, Malta.   Please see this week’s newsletter for a comment on this painting.

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Bellini’s Naples Transfiguration

August 5, 2023

  You can read a comment from Fr Dermot on this image in this week’s newsletter.

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Vermeer’s Christ in the house of Mary and Martha

July 29, 2023

  “Christ in the House of Mary and Martha”,  1654-1656, Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Scotland. For a comment on this painting please read this week’s newsletter. 

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Gerolamo dai Libri’s Virgin and Child with St Anne

July 22, 2023

 Originally, it was painted as an altarpiece for the Church of Santa Maria della Scala in Verona.  For a comment on this painting, please read this week’s newsletter. 

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ST MARY MAGDALENE BY PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA

July 15, 2023

For comment on this fresco please see the newsletter for Sunday 16th July 2023

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Jacopo Bassano’s Good Samaritan

July 8, 2023

  There is a reflection on this painting in the newsletter for the week beginning 9th July.

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BASSANO’S GOOD SAMARITAN

July 8, 2022

The Samaritan is struggling to lift the man left for dead by the side of the road, which behind him descends steeply from Jerusalem to Jericho.  The Levite and the Temple priest are visible as as they make their hurried

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Vermeer’s Christ in the house of Mary and Martha

July 2, 2022

“Christ in the House of Mary and Martha”,  1654-1656, Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Scotland. Vermeer has positioned Christ’s hand the very centre of this canvas.   The extended index finger suggests that he is teaching.  Behind him, Martha is busy

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CRIVELLI’S SAINTS PETER AND PAUL

June 24, 2022

This painting of Sts Peter and Paul is one of my favourites because the two saints look like real characters.  This is a side-panel from a large and very formal altarpiece  which once adorned the high altar of the Parish

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MASS IN A CONEMARA CABIN

June 18, 2022

“Mass in a  Connemara Cabin”,  Aloysius O’Kelly,  1883, National Gallery Dublin. A young priest gives the final blessing at a Station Mass. His vestments are white and there is a picture of the Sacred Heart in the background, which suggests

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THE HOLY TRINITY, EDINBURGH

June 11, 2022

  Panel from “The Trinity Altarpiece”, Hugo van der Goes, 1478-9, National Galleries of Scotland. One way to get people to think about the doctrine of the Trinity is to ask them to draw God.  Very few will come up

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Giotto’s Pentecost

June 4, 2022

“Pentecost”,  Giotto di Bondone, 1305, Capella Scrovegni, Padua. Giotto frescoed the walls of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua with 38 scenes drawn from the life of Christ, the Virgin, and her parents, Joachim and Anna.  He arranged them in chronological

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TINTORETTO’S VISITATION AT THE SCOULA SAN ROCCO

May 28, 2022

“Visitation”,  Tintoretto, 1588, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice. This painting was intended to be viewed from below.  It hangs high up over an archway on the landing of the grand staircase of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The

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BASSANO’S LAST SUPPER

May 14, 2022

  “Last Supper”,  Jacopo Bassano, c. 1546,  Gallerie Borghese,  Rome. At the Last Supper Jesus washed his disciples feet and then revealed who it was would betray him.  The disciples bare feet are hard to miss and they really do

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THE GOOD SHEPHERD FROM THE CATACOMBS OF PRISCILLA

May 7, 2022

“The Good Shepherd”,  Third Century, Catacombs of Priscilla,  Rome. This fresco was painted on the ceiling of a burial chamber in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome.  It is not hard for us to see that the man at the

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EL GRECO’S TEARS OF ST PETER

April 30, 2022

“The Tears of St Peter”,  El Greco, 1580-89,  Bowes Museum, County Durham. El Greco was one of the first artists to focus on the sorrow of St Peter after he had denied Christ.  He painted this  subject at least six

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CARAVAGGIO’S DOUBTING THOMAS

April 23, 2022

“Doubting Thomas”, Caravaggio, 1601-02,  Sanssouci Picture Gallery, Potsdam, Germany.   At first glance, it is hard not to be shocked at the sight of Thomas’ finger probing Christ’s wound.  And yet, the two other disciples show no sign of shock,

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BELLINI’S CHRIST BLESSING

April 16, 2022

“Christ Blessing”, Giovanni Bellini,   c. 1500, Kimbell Art Museum,   Forth Worth, Texas.  The Risen Christ  raises his right hand in blessing.  Behind him the sun has not yet risen.  To the right, there are  some figures visible in

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GIOTTO’S CHRIST MOCKED

April 9, 2022

“Mocking of Christ”, Giotto di Bondone, c.1501, Capella Scovegni (Arena Chapel) Padua.   Only Luke Gospel records that Jesus was mocked and beaten in the court of Herod.  In fact, Luke’s account of the Passion has a number of differences

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Guercino’s Woman Taken in Adultery

April 2, 2022

“The Woman taken in Adultery”, Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), c. 1621, Dulwich Picture Gallery. Guercino lived and worked in and around Bologna but here he adopts the Venetian practice of half-length narrative paintings. It is the moment when the woman

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Murillo’s Return of the Prodigal Son

March 25, 2022

“The Return of the Prodigal Son”, Esteban Murillo, 1667-70, National Gallery of Art Washington.   This large canvas was one of a series painted for the Hospital de la Caridad in Seville to illustrate the seven works of mercy.  This

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TINTORETTO’S ANNUNCIATION AT THE SCOULA GRANDE DI SAN ROCCO

March 19, 2022

“Annunciation”,  Jacobo Tintoretto, 1581-2, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice. Tintoretto’s “Annunciation” is very different to those of other Italian artists of the Renaissance.  Usually,  the Virgin is shown as calm, serene and located within a well ordered space reflecting

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Bellini’s Tranfiguration in Naples

March 12, 2022

  Christ stands before us dressed in white garments which are as bright as the band of white clouds on the horizon behind him, but are hardly the “dazzling white” to which the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke attest. 

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Stanley Spencer’s Christ in the Wilderness – The Hen

March 5, 2022

  “Christ in the Wilderness -The Hen”, Stanley Spencer c. 1954, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.  Spencer noted that the gospels focus on the temptations and not on the 40 days preceding them. He resolved to paint a series

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CIMA’S CHRIST AMONG THE DOCTORS

February 26, 2022

“Christ among the Doctors”, Cima da Conegliano, c.1504, Muzeum Narodowe, Warsaw.  The scene is from the Gospel of Luke when the 12 year old Jesus is separated from his parents in the Temple.  After three days Mary and Joseph find

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CARAVAGGIO’S CRUCIFIXION OF ST PETER

February 19, 2022

“The Crucifixion of St Peter”,  Caravaggio, 1602, Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.   The men who are crucifying St Peter wear contemporary working clothes.  In 1602, it must have seemed as if St Peter’s martyrdom was taking place in

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VERONESE’S CHRIST AMONG THE DOCTORS IN THE TEMPLE

February 12, 2022

“Christ among the Doctors in the Temple”,  Paolo Veronese c.1560, Prado, Madrid.   In this painting the boy Jesus is shown teaching in Temple. St Luke tells us that this happened when he was 12 years old (Lk 2:41-52).  

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Jacopo Bassano’s Miraculous draught of fishes

February 5, 2022

“The Miraculous Draught of fishes”, Jacopo Bassano,  1545, National Gallery of Art, Washington.  Jacopo da Ponte came to be known as Jacopo Bassano because he was from Bassano del Grappa which  is a small town about 65km  inland from Venice. 

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Giotto’s Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

January 29, 2022

“The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple”, (top) and “The Betrayal of Judas” (below),  Giotto, c. 1303 -5, Scrovegni  Chapel, Padua.  In the Scrovegni Chapel scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary are arranged in chronological order in three

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Van der Weyden’s St Luke drawing the Virgin

January 22, 2022

    “St Luke drawing the Virgin”,  Rogier van der Weyden, c.1435-40, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.   The tradition that St Luke was a healer or physican is based on Colossians 4.14.  Another tradition says that he was an artist

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Giotto’s Wedding at Cana

January 15, 2022

  “The Wedding at Cana”, Giotto di Bondone,  c.1305, Capella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padova. This is one of a sequence of scenes from the life of Christ by Giotto which adorn the walls of the Cappella Scrovegni.  Often Christ and

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TINTORETTO’S ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS AT SAN ROCCO

December 18, 2021

“Adoration of the Shepherds”, 1578/81, Tintoretto, Scoula Grande di San Rocco, Venice.    Two women gaze upon the child from the opposite side of a hayloft.  Mary raises a cloth so that they can see his face.   Unusually for

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CIMA’S ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, MADONNA DELL’ ORTO

December 11, 2021

   St John the Baptist stands before us, surrounded by four other saints.  He has the usual reed-like cross,  but there is no lamb, nor is he baptising.  He points upwards to the open sky above his head.  This very

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CRIVELLI’S SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

December 4, 2021

“St John the Baptist”  from the Demidoff Altarpiece, Carlo Crivelli, 1476, National Gallery, London.   Crivelli locates St John the Baptist by the water’s edge and us on the opposite bank.  Behind him, the trees have been cut down but

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Crivelli’s St Andrew

November 27, 2021

St Andrew is shown here by Carlo Crivelli as an old man who holds a cross and mediates on a sacred text. The flowing locks, the crows feet, the fluttering pages, the grain of the wood, the folds of his

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TINTORETTO’S CHRIST BEFORE PILATE

November 20, 2021

“Christ before Pilate” c.1566/7, Tintoretto, Sala dell’ Albergo, Scoula Grande  di San Rocco, Venice. Christ stands before Pilate, wrapped in what looks like white shroud.  We can see that his hands are bound with rope.  As in Matthew 27:24, a

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TINTORETTO’S PRESENTATION OF THE VIRGIN IN THE TEMPLE

November 13, 2021

The tradition that Mary was presented in the Temple as a child relates that after Mary was weaned, her parents took her to the Temple to give thanks.  When her parents placed her on the lowest of the Temple steps,

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EL GRECO’S ST MARTIN AND THE BEGGAR

November 6, 2021

St Martin and the Beggar”, El Greco, 1597-99, National Gallery of Art, Washington. The story of St Martin of Tours and the beggar has been painted by artists of every age. It is an inspiring story. St Martin was a

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RAPHAEL’S ENTOMBMENT

October 30, 2021

“Entombment”, 1507, Raphael, Borghese Gallery, Rome.   Christ is being carried to the tomb, which is a dark cave on the left.  The figures in the procession fill the middle section on the painting.  We can sense their close interaction

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DUCCIO’S HEALING OF THE MAN BORN BLIND

October 21, 2021

In today’s gospel we have the story of Bartimaeus, the blind man who was healed by Jesus as he left Jericho.  This panel shows a similar miracle from John’s Gospel: the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-12).  It

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Zurbarán’s Virgin of Mercy of Las Cuevas

October 9, 2021

“The Virgin of Mercy of Las Cuevas”, Francisco de Zurbarán, c.1644-55, Museo de Belles Artes, Seville.   In the Counter Reformation period,  sacred figures were often shown as real people in order to foster devotion.  How this was done varied

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PERUGINO’S THE VIRGIN ADORING THE CHILD, THE ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL WITH TOBIAS, AND THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL

September 25, 2021

  These three panels formed the lower tier of a polyptych showing the three Archangels, Sts Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. Perugino painted these panels for the Carthusian monastery, known as Certosa or charter house, which is outside Pavia.  The Archangel

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CARAVAGGIO’S ST MATTHEW AND THE ANGEL

September 18, 2021

  In 1602 Caravaggio was commissioned to paint the altarpiece for the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi.  It was to show St Matthew writing his gospel. Caravaggio had already completed the call of St Matthew

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TINTORETTO’S CRUCIFIXION AT SAN CASSIANO

September 11, 2021

Christ is crucified on waste ground, where only weeds and brambles grow.  It seems to be on high ground, beyond which stand Roman soldiers.  With them we look up towards Christ on the cross.  Their spears are like a fence,

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Murillo’s Birth of the Virgin

September 4, 2021

Although the Virgin was conceived without sin, her birth would have been as natural as any other.  This is what Murillo’s painting conveys.  Yes, there are angels in attendance and the child has a halo, but these elements don’t detract

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Murillo’s Immaculate Conception or Assumption of the Virgin?

August 14, 2021

If you lived in 17th Century Seville, you might expect this to be an image of the Immaculate Conception rather than the Assumption. And perhaps it is. Murillo painted the Immaculate Conception again and again. The upward gaze of the

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Bellini’s St Dominic in Denver

August 7, 2021

“St Dominic”,Giovanni Bellini, c.1501, Denver, private collection This painting by Giovanni Bellini of St Dominic is less well known than others.   Saint Dominic is reading from the book he holds open in his hands. He is easily identified by

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BELLINI’S TRANSFIGURATION IN NAPLES

July 31, 2021

Christ stands before us dressed in garments which are as bright as the band of white clouds on the horizon behind him.  The cloth looks like it has been stiffened.  But these are hardly the “dazzling robes” of the gospel

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KITCHEN SCENE WITH CHRIST IN THE HOUSE OF MARY AND MARTHA, VELÁZQUEZ

July 24, 2021

The young woman stares out at us from a kitchen.  The meal of fish and eggs suggests that this might the season of Lent or a fast day.  The older woman lays a finger on her sleeve.  The young woman

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Caravaggio’s Martha and Mary Magdalene

July 17, 2021

In Western art, Mary Magdalen has been conflated with Mary, the sister of Martha, and with the woman who washed Christ’s feet with her tears.  She is often shown as a repentant sinner , sometimes clad in scarlet, sometimes nude,

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Dürer’s Four Apostles

July 10, 2021

Although this pair of panels are usually known as “The Four Apostles”,  in fact, the four men shown are, on the left, St John the Evangelist with St Peter behind him, and on the right, the Apostle St Paul with

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MILLAIS’ CHRIST IN THE HOUSE OF HIS PARENTS

July 3, 2021

In today’s gospel passage from Mark, the people of Nazareth refer to Jesus as a carpenter.  In Matthew, they refer to him as a carpenter’s son.   In this painting, which was inspired by a sermon, Millais presents us with

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JAN BRUEGHEL’S CHRIST IN STORM ON THE SEA OF GALILEE

June 19, 2021

Dark clouds advance across the sky and almost obscure the sun.  In their shadow the disciples struggle to prevent their boat from sinking, as the waves come close to filling it.  This picture includes several details mentioned in today’s gospel

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JAN BRUEGEL’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT

June 12, 2021

Although the scene shown here is the Sermon on the Mount, I think it could have been named for a parable such as that of the mustard seed in today’s gospel reading, where great things come from tiny beginnings.  The

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TITIAN’S SUPPER AT EMMAUS AT THE WALKER GALLERY

June 5, 2021

You might consider the table cloth to be of little importance in the story of the Supper at Emmaus, but it dominates this painting.  The white weave is strikingly set against the darker tones of evening.  The table with its

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THE VISITATION OF THE VIRGIN TO ELIZABETH

May 29, 2021

The scene is from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 1:39 -56)  Having heard the message of the angel, the Virgin Mary leaves Nazareth and goes “into the hill country, to a city of Judah.”   She hastens to visit her

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MURILLO’S VIRGIN OF THE ROSARY AT DULWICH

May 14, 2021

Murillo painted the subject of the Virgin of the Rosary at least seven times. This is his last one.  In all of these paintings, the Virgin is seated with the child Jesus in her arms holding rosary beads. In all

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Murillo’s Virgin of the Rosary at the Prado

May 8, 2021

A young mother and her child hold each other close.  Both engage the viewer with the same solemn and serious gaze.  This mother and child are entirely credible. It would be hard to believe that the models are not a

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CARAVAGGIO’S MADONNA OF THE ROSARY

May 1, 2021

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_of_the_Rosary_(Caravaggio)#/media/File:Michelangelo_Merisi,_called_Caravaggio_-_Madonna_of_the_Rosary_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg The great red cloth and the column on the left suggest that the Our Lady and Jesus are seated on a make-shift throne.  While the child Jesus stares out at us, Our Lady gestures to a Dominican friar.  

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THE GOOD SHEPHERD

April 24, 2021

To our Christian eyes,  this figure of the Good Shepherd carrying the sheep on his shoulders surely derives from the parable of the lost sheep which is found in the Gospel of Luke (Lk 15:4-5) and, perhaps, also from the

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DUCCIO’S APPEARANCE TO THE APOSTLES AT TABLE

April 17, 2021

 “Appearance to the Apostles while at Table”,   (Maesta)  Duccio di Buoninsegno, 1308 -1311,  Museo dell’ Opera Metropolitana del Duomo, Siena.  You can view this image in high resolution at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_-_Appearance_While_the_Apostles_are_at_Table_-_WGA06738.jpg Duccio shows the Risen Christ appearing to the eleven

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Guercino’s Incredulity of St Thomas

April 10, 2021

Guercino sets the scene at night. Light falls from the right creating a pattern of highlights and shadows.   Patches of exposed brickwork are visible on the upper left and right, suggesting that this encounter takes place before a wall. 

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ZURBARÁN’S CRUCIFIXION, 1627

March 27, 2021

This brightly lit figure of the dead Christ on the cross emerges out of darkness.   When people saw this painting hanging in the dimly lit sacristy of the Dominican Priory of San Pablo el Real in Seville, they though

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CARAVAGGIO’S DEPOSITION

March 20, 2021

Many of Caravaggio’s contemporaries considered this altarpiece to be his best work.  It was painted for the Chapel of the Pietà in the Oratorians’ Chiesa Nuova in Rome.   In it, Caravaggio seems to have combined two scenes.  It is

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GIOVANNI BELLINI’S LAMENTATION OF CHRIST

March 13, 2021

This painting is also known as “The Anointing of Christ” because it shows the dead body of Christ being anointed before burial.  Joseph of Arimathea supports the body. Nicodemus holds a container of ointment while Mary Magdalene anoints the wound

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EL GRECO’S PURIFICATION OF THE TEMPLE, LONDON

March 6, 2021

“The Purification of the Temple”, El Greco, 1600, National Gallery, London.  This scene was rarely painted in its own right before the Reformation.  It was shown as one of a series of scenes from the Passion.  After the Council of

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CARAVAGGIO’S SACRIFICE OF ISAAC

February 27, 2021

“Sacrifice of Isaac”, c. 1603, Carravaggio, Ufizzi, Florence Caravaggio shows the terrible moment when Abraham has put forth his hand and taken the knife to slay his son (Gen 22:10).  But an angel on the left stays his hand and

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STANLEY SPENCER’S CHRIST IN THE WILDERNESS – THE SCORPION

February 20, 2021

In a bleak wasteland, Christ sits on the bare earth and looks down at the scorpion which he holds on the palm of his right hand.  He holds the scorpion most carefully, with one hand under the other.  His downward

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GIOVANNI BELLINI’S CHRIST BLESSING

February 13, 2021

“Christ Blessing”, Giovanni Bellini,   c. 1500, Kimbell Art Museum,   Forth Worth, Texas.    You can view the painting in higher resolution at https://www.kimbellart.org/collection/ap-196707 The Risen Christ  raises his right hand in blessing.  The landscape tells us that it

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MANTEGNA’S ST MARK THE EVANGELIST

February 6, 2021

This small painting of St Mark the Evangelist owes much to the Eastern tradition of icon painting.   But unlike in an icon, there is a fictive stone frame with inscription written on a fictive piece of folded parchment attached.

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TINTORETTO’S PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE

January 30, 2021

Tintoretto painted this altarpiece for the Chapel of the Presentation in the Venetian Church of Santa Maria dei Carmini.  It was commissioned by the Confraternity of Fishmongers who were the  chapel’s patrons.  The frame is inscribed with the year 1548,

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Ghirlandaio’s Vocation of the Apostles

January 23, 2021

The Apostles Peter and Andrew kneel on the ground before Christ.  They wear cloaks as if ready to set out on a journey.  They are shown barefoot, in accordance with what Christ will say to them later on in the

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GIOVANNI BELLINI’S VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH ST JOHN THE BAPTIST AND A FEMALE SAINT

January 16, 2021

In today’s gospel passage, on seeing Jesus, St John the Baptist calls out “Behold the Lamb of God!”   Although this scene is not shown very often in Western Art it has entered the iconography of the Baptist.  For example,

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GIOVANNI BELLINI’S BAPTISM OF CHRIST

January 9, 2021

This very large and beautiful painting, with it subtle use of light and colour, can still be found in situ in the side aisle of the once Dominican Church of Santa Corona in Vicenza.  Christ is shown centre foreground.  He

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Jan Gossaert’s Adoration of the Kings

January 2, 2021

You can view the painting in higher resolution at https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/jan-gossaert-jean-gossart-the-adoration-of-the-kings Our Lady sits with the Infant Jesus on her knee.   Clothed in a mantle of ultramarine blue,  she is the focus of this lavish and incredibly detailed painting. A

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The Nativity at Night, Geertgen tot Sint Jans

December 19, 2020

The holy child  lies in a manger watched over by his mother Mary.   Behind her in the shadows, Joseph looks on. The ox and the ass are in the centre but it is Mary’s brightly lit face and those

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Zurbarán’s Agnus Dei at the Prado

December 12, 2020

In the verse which follows today’s Gospel passage, John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  (Jn 1:29)  This exclamation just about sums up this

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Bruegel’s The Sermon of St John the Baptist

December 5, 2020

In this painting you really have to look carefully to see John the Baptist.  Bruegel deliberately focuses our attention first on the crowd who have gathered to hear him and then our eyes follow a diagonal to a light filled

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Murillo’s Martyrdom of St Andrew

November 28, 2020

At first sight,  the gaunt figure of St Andrew  dominates the scene.  But as you look you begin to notice one by one the figures in the crowd who like you are looking at this scene of martyrdom.  It is

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Caravaggio’s Crowning with Thorns in Prato

November 21, 2020

The artist uses light and shadow to draw attention to the central figure of Christ and in particular,  to his bare right shoulder and arm and his upturned face.  Nothing is known about the commission.  The painting  only came to

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Titian’s Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple

November 14, 2020

Titian painted this canvas between 1534 and 1538 for a room in the Scoula Grande di S. Maria della Carità in Venice.  Later on the room became part of the Galleria dell’ Accademia.  “ The Golden Legend” relates that Mary

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El Greco’s St Martin and the Beggar

November 7, 2020

“St Martin and the Beggar”, El Greco, 1597-99, National Gallery of Art, Washington.   St Martin of Tours (d. 397)  is shown as a young and handsome knight,  dressed in a suit of armour and, rather strikingly,  mounted on a

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El Greco’s Burial of the Count of Orgaz

October 30, 2020

“The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”,  El Greco, c.1586-88, Church of San Tomé, Toldeo.   You can see this picture in higher resolution at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burial_of_the_Count_of_Orgaz#/media/File:El_Greco_-_The_Burial_of_the_Count_of_Orgaz.JPG The funeral of the Lord of Orgaz Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, had taken place

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Tintoretto’s Washing of the Feet

October 24, 2020

Tintoretto painted this scene for the righthand wall of the apse of the Church of San Marcuola in Venice.  This large picture is to be viewed from the righthand side as it would have been seen in situ.  For the

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El Greco’s Christ driving the Traders from the Temple

October 17, 2020

The denarius from today’s gospel bore the image of the Emperor and an inscription describing him as “divi filius” meaning “son of god”.  On the back were the words “pontifex maximus”, meaning “high priest”.   For Jews this coinage contravened

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Giovanni Bellini’s First St Jerome in the Wilderness

September 26, 2020

St Jerome (c.347 – 420) is a Doctor of the Church and the author of the Latin translation of the bible known as the Vulgate.  However, in this image Bellini shows him seated on rock in front of what must

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CRUCIFIXION WITH THE VIRGIN AND SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST BY GIOVANNI BELLINI

September 12, 2020

In this small panel, the crucifixion is shown against a beautiful landscape near a bridge built where a river bends.  It might well be somewhere in the Veneto.  The bridge and the tracks made by people across the river plain

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Giovanni Bellini’s St Jerome in a Landscape

August 29, 2020

As the Season of Creation begins this coming week,  I thought this small painting by Giovanni Bellini might help us to ponder our place within the whole of God’s creation.  The subject is St Jerome (347 – 420) who, as

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Caravaggio’s Denial of St Peter

August 22, 2020

“Denial of St Peter” 1601- 1607/10, Caravaggio, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  You can see this picture in higher resolution at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denial_of_Saint_Peter_(Caravaggio)#/media/File:The_Denial_of_Saint_Peter-Caravaggio_(1610).jpg The story of St Peter’s denial of Jesus is told in all four gospels.  Although the general

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CARAVAGGIO’S DEATH OF THE VIRGIN

August 15, 2020

“Death of the Virgin”, 1601- 1605/06, Caravaggio, Louvre, Paris.  You can see this picture in higher resolution but with some colour distortion at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_Virgin_(Caravaggio)#/media/File:Michelangelo_Caravaggio_069.jpg A soft light falls from high up on the left unto a scene of death.  The

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Rembrandt’s “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee”

August 8, 2020

This is Rembrandt’s first and only seascape. It was painted in 1633, which was early on in his career and shortly after his move from Leiden to Amsterdam.  It is signed and dated but the details of the commission are

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Matisse’s St Dominic at Vence

August 1, 2020

It fell to Fr Fergus to clothe me in the Dominican habit. It was 5th October 1992.  There were two of us.  I remember that he preached a very fine homily. He said what we were called to do was

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CARAVAGGIO’S RAISING OF LAZARUS

July 25, 2020

On Wednesday,  we celebrate the feast day of St Martha, who was the sister of Lazarus.  The gospel for her feast day is John 11:19 -27, in which she professes faith in Jesus, before he raises Lazarus from the dead. 

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Bruegel’s Landscape with the Parable of the Sower

July 11, 2020

Imagine yourself coming over the brow of a hill, or emerging from the edge of a wood, and seeing this view before you.  Perhaps the first thing you will notice is the man sowing seed just below you on the

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Br Samuel preaches on the 14th Sunday of the Year

July 6, 2020

Mt 11:25-30 The verses that we have just read are, to my mind, both some of the most consoling and some of the most perplexing in the whole of scripture. They speak to the mystery of who can receive Christ’s

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Crivelli’s Saints Peter and Paul

June 27, 2020

“Saints Peter and Paul”, Carlo Crivelli, c.1470, National Gallery London.  Saint Peter is on the right with his keys and Saint Paul is on the left with a sword.    As was the established practice, Saint Peter is shown as

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Fr John Preaches on the 12th Sunday of the Year

June 22, 2020

Jer 20:10 -13, Ps 68, Rom 5:12 -15, Mt 10: 26 -33 Let me begin with what might seem a digression.  In recent decades there has been a noticeable increase in interest in the so-called “desert fathers and mothers” –

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Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus II

June 20, 2020

This version of “The supper at Emmaus” was painted in the summer of 1606.  Let’s compare it with the one he painted in 1601 for Cardinal Ciriaco Mattei which is now in the National Gallery in London (see below, opposite). 

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Brother Samuel preaches on Corpus Christi

June 15, 2020

“Christ’s supreme gift of love”. These five words are the best I can do to summarise what the Eucharist is, and why we celebrate this feast day. That’s a summary but let me share some of the thinking which underpins

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Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus I

June 13, 2020

The familiar story of the road to Emmaus, from Luke’s Gospel, concludes,  “Then they told what happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35).  His work echoes several earlier

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PAINTING THE TRINITY

June 6, 2020

In this image,  gold leaf is overlaid with pigments of red, green and white.  The red is that of the Christ’s blood which flows from his wounds. The green is that of the crown of thorns.  The white is that

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Giotto on Pentecost

May 30, 2020

This little painting from London’s National Gallery (45.5cm X 44cm) is full of surprises.  Pentecost is described in the Acts of the Apostles.  Chapter 1 of Acts says that after the Ascension, the Apostles went back to the upper room

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PAINTING THE ASCENSION: REMBRANDT

May 23, 2020

How can you paint the Ascension?  Artists have struggled.  Sometimes you see just his Christ’s feet with the disciples below, as in Dürer’s “Little Passion”.  Another example is the scene at the top of “The Cloisters Cross” c.1100 and believed

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Fr Dermot preaches on the Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 18, 2020

John 14:15-21 “The Laundress”, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, c1886. I have been thinking about snails,  or rather the silvery trails they leave behind them. You see,  there is now a pattern of silver slime on the stone behind the tabernacle.  It catches the morning

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Rembrandt’s Titus, The Artist’s Son

May 16, 2020

“Titus, the artist’s son” , Rembrandt, c. 1657, Wallace Collection, London.  You can view this paining in high resolution on the Wallace Collection website,  www.wallacecollection.org When asked recently what my favourite portrait was, I could answer without hesitation.  It this

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CRIVELLI’S OUR LADY OF THE SWALLOW

May 9, 2020

Someone mentioned in an email that that this week he had seen his first swallow of spring out at Gosford.  Perhaps the swallow in this altarpiece, which is perched above the Madonna and Child and gives the work its name,

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BR SAMUEL PREACHES ON THE GOOD SHEPHERD

May 4, 2020

John 10:1-10 The Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally called “Good Shepherd Sunday” and it’s the day upon which we pray especially for vocations. Somewhat awkwardly, however, this year (Year A of the liturgical cycle) there’s no explicit mention of

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Carlo Crivelli’s Virgin and Child with Sts Francis and Sebastian

May 2, 2020

The painting from the National Gallery Collection in London was made as an altarpiece for a family chapel in the Franciscan Church at Fabriano in the Italian Marche region in 1491.   In the centre are the Virgin and Child.

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Fr John preaches on “The road to Emmaus”

April 27, 2020

Third Sunday of Easter, Luke 24: 13-35 At the very end of John’s Gospel there are these intriguing words:  “But there are also many other things, which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that

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HOW WE BUILT A CHAPEL IN THE BACK GARDEN – PART I

April 26, 2020

These photos were taken before and during the construction of the Chapel of St Albert the Great. Here is the back garden as it was on 1st February 2009. The copse of trees was planted by the owner of number

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CARAVAGGIO’S DOUBTING THOMAS

April 25, 2020

“Doubting Thomas”, c.1601/02, Caravaggio, Bildergalerie, Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany.    It is known that this work was painted as a private commission while Caravaggio was in Rome.   It must surely have created a stir amongthose who saw it, because

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BR SAMUEL PREACHES ON EASTER SUNDAY

April 21, 2020

The story begins in darkness. It was “still dark”, St. John tells us, when Mary Magdalen went to visit the tomb, three days after his agonising death. There was darkness outside for it was before dawn, and there was darkness

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Homily for Easter Friday

April 18, 2020

Fr Fergus preaches on John 21:1-14 https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=264744428016763

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Fr John preaches at the Easter Vigil

April 11, 2020

It must have been sometime in May or June 1993. I was back at home having just finished my final engineering exams in Galway. I had gone for a walk and returned to learn that my mother had received a

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Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection of Christ

April 11, 2020

In his essay “The Best Picture” of 1925 (which you can easily find online) , Aldous Huxley wrote this of Piero’s “Resurrection of Christ”:  “It stands there before us in entire and actual splendour, the greatest picture in the world.”

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Fr Dermot Preaches on Holy Thursday

April 9, 2020

There is a weir on the river near where I grew up. There was a stone on which you could sit under the shade of a tree and cool your feet in the river water in on a hot day.

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Fr Fergus Preaches on Palm Sunday 2020

April 6, 2020

Who is this?’ people asked, as Jesus, riding on an ass, with a crowd of supporters, arrived in Jerusalem, creating something of a stir (Matthew 21: 10), on the first day of what we know as Holy Week. It’s the

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THE LEGEND OF THE THE TRUE CROSS PART III

April 4, 2020

“The Exaltation of the True Cross” and and “The Discovery and Proof the True Cross”. These two frescos can be seen below.

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THE LEGEND OF THE TRUE CROSS IN AREZZO PART II

March 28, 2020

“The Queen of Sheba in Adoration of the Wood of the Cross and the Meeting of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba”  from “The Legend of the True Cross”, Piero della Francesca, Church of San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy.  This

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THE LEGEND OF THE TRUE CROSS IN AREZZO PART I

March 21, 2020

“The Death of Adam” from “The Legend of the True Cross”, Piero della Francesca, Church of San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy.  Baccio di Magio,  a wealthy merchant from Arezzo died in 1417 and left money for the decoration of the chapel

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CARAVAGGIO’S NARCISSUS

March 14, 2020

“Narcissus”, Caravaggio, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini. Although lit from above by the same numinous light found in other works of Caravaggio, here the fair Narcissus looks away from it and gazes downwards at his reflection in the

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ANDY WARHOL’S 32 CANS OF CAMPBELL’S SOUP

March 7, 2020

“32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” (detail) 1962, Andy Warhol, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York.  When asked why he choose to paint the 32 varieties of Campbell’s soup, Warhol replied,  that as a child he ate it every day.  This

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A Reflection on the Goosecroft Friar

March 7, 2020

Lyn Cronin offers a Reflection on the day. A Service.  A Burial.  A Reception.  An Extraordinary Day We were driving to Stirling for an unusual funeral.  We were to attend a Requiem Mass and re-burial of the remains of an unknown friar, discovered on

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THE GOOSECROFT FRIAR

March 4, 2020

On 29th February 5 Dominican friars gathered in Stirling for the reburial of a friar whose remains were discovered a few years ago in Stirling. Stirling Council named him the Goosecroft Friar after the area on the edge of the

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STANLEY SPENCER’S CHRIST IN THE WILDERNESS – THE HEN

February 28, 2020

“Christ in the Wilderness -The Hen”, Stanley Spencer c. 1954, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. Stanley Spencer spent the winter of 1938/39 living alone in a room in 188 Adelaide Road near Swiss Cottage in London.  There he began

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Ter Brugghen’s St Sebastian tended by St Irene

February 22, 2020

“St Sebastian tended by St Irene”, c. 1625, Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629), Memorial Art museum of Oberin, Ohio.  The early Christian martyr, St Sebastian, was shot through by arrows and left for dead. He survived but was executed a few

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REBURIAL OF A DOMINICAN FRIAR IN STIRLING

February 22, 2020

Stirling Council’s  Archeologist, Murray Cook,  writes, “In 2014 an archaeological excavation ahead of new flats opposite Stirling train station identified some buildings associated with the Medieval Dominican Priory (1230s to 1560) and a single body of a young man between

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CARAVAGGIO’S SEVEN ACTS OF MERCY

February 8, 2020

“The Seven Acts of Mercy”, Caravaggio, 1606/07, Chiesa Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples. Shortly after his arrival in Naples Caravaggio was commissioned to paint a Madonna of Mercy for the newly built Church of the Pio Monte della Misericordia.  Mary

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MANTEGNA’S PRESENTATION

February 1, 2020

“The Presentation of Christ in the Temple”, Andrea Mantegna, c.1454, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche, Museen su Berlin.  It is accepted that this painting dates from around the time of Mantegna’s marriage to Nicolosia Bellini and before he left Padua.  The two figures,

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Winifred Nicholson’s Cyclamen and Primula

January 27, 2020

“Cyclamen and Primula”, Winifred Nicholson, c.1923, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge.  The artists Winfred Roberts and Ben Nicholson were married in London in 1920. This picture dates from the first few winters which were spent painting in Switzerland. Ben had bought her

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CARAVAGGIO’S CONVERSION OF ST PAUL

January 21, 2020

“The Conversion of St Paul”, Caravaggio, 1602, Santa Maria Del Popolo, Rome.  The scenes from the life of St Matthew in Rome’s San Luigi Francesi made Caravaggio famous.  He was about 27.  Within months,  the very eminent Tiberio Cerasi, Treasuer

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PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA’S BAPTISM OF CHRIST

January 11, 2020

“The Baptism of Christ”, Piero della Francesca, 1450s, National Gallery,  London. Stand in a still pool of water on a warm summer’s day and let the cool waters just reach your ankles.  Place your pool of water in the midst

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JACOPO BASSANO’S ADORATION OF THE KINGS

January 4, 2020

“The Adoration of the Kings”, Jacopo Bassano, 1542, National Galleries Of Scotland.  We see the Holy Family with their haloes on the left. A beam of light from the star can just be seen above them.  These are the only

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FLIGHT INTO EGYPT BY JACOPO BASSANO

December 28, 2019

“Flight into Egypt”, Jacopo Bassano, c.1544, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.  The Holy Family is on the move.  Behind them is the familiar landscape of Bassano del Grappa where the artist lived.  But here they are led by an angel and

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CIMA’S VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH ST JEROME AND ST LOUIS OF TOULOUSE

December 21, 2019

“Virgin and Child with Sts Jerome and St Louis of Toulouse” (“Madonna of the Orange Tree”) 1496- 98,  Cima da Conegliano,  Accademia, Venice.  When I saw this painting recently on a visit to Venice, I was struck by the similarities

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CIMA DA CONEGLIANO’S REST ON THE FLIGHT TO EGYPT WITH SAINTS JOHN THE BAPTIST AND ST LUCY

December 14, 2019

“Rest on the Flight into Egypt with Sts John the Baptist and St Lucy”, 1496 – 98, Cima da Conegliano, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.  This artist is known for his altarpieces but at 53.9 cm X 71.6cm this painting must

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CARAVAGGIO’S BURIAL OF ST LUCY

December 7, 2019

“Burial of St Lucy” 1608, Caravaggio, Chiesa de Santa Lucia alla Badia, Syracuse. The two grave diggers, the soldier and the mitred bishop are far larger than the central group of mourners.  With this deliberate distortion,  they both frame and

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CIMA DA CONEGLIANO”S ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

November 30, 2019

“St John the Baptist with Sts Peter, Mark, Jerome and Paul”, Church of Madonna dell’ Orto, Venice. 1493-5, Giovanni Batista Cima, known as Cima da Conegliano.  This very beautiful work remains in the location for which it was painted.  This

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CARAVAGGIO’S THE CROWNING WITH THORNS

November 23, 2019

“The Crowning with Thorns”, Caravaggio, 1602/03, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemäldegalerie, Vienna. When I saw this painting for the first time what struck me most was the force of the downward thrust exerted by the soldiers.  In 1638, this painting is listed

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CARAVAGGIO’S CRUCIFIXION OF ST PETER

November 16, 2019

“The Crucifixion of St Peter”, Carravaggio, 1602, Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.  In September 1600,  Tiberio Cerasi commissioned two paintings from Caravaggio to decorate the side walls of a chapel he had acquired in the Church of Santa

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CARAVAGGIO’S MARY MAGDALENE

November 8, 2019

“Mary Magdalene”, Caravaggio, 1595/96, Gallerie, Doria Pamphilji, Rome. Were you not given the title you might have thought that this is a young woman who has returned in a bad mood from the local swish party!  Her accessories lie on

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GUERCINO’S MARY MAGDALENE AND TWO ANGELS

November 2, 2019

“The Penitent Magdalene with Two Angels”, Guercino, c. 1622, Pinacoteca Vaticana.  In John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb early and alone  on the first day of the week and finds it empty (Jn 20:1).  Yet the two angels

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CARRAVAGGIO’S THE ENTOMBMENT

October 25, 2019

“The Entombment”, Carravaggio, 1602-04, Vatican Museums.  This altarpiece was originally intended for a side chapel dedicated to the pietà in the newly rebuilt Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella (commonly known as the Chiesa Nouva) which was the Church of

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GUERCINO’S ST LUKE DISPLAYING A PAINTING OF THE VIRGIN

October 12, 2019

“Saint Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin”, Guercino, 1652-53, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.   Originally painted for the Church of San Francesco in Reggio Emilia, this  work was in the collections of the Spencer family from the

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CARAVAGGIO’S ST MATTHEW AND THE ANGEL

October 12, 2019

“St Matthew and the Angel”, Caravaggio, 1602, formerly Kaiser-Friedrich Museum Berlin, destroyed by fire in1945.   Some time after he had completed his “Call of St Matthew” and “Martyrdom of St Matthew” for the lateral walls of the Contarelli Chapel

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CARAVAGGIO’S MADONNA OF THE ROSARY

October 5, 2019

“Madonna of the Rosary”, Caravaggio, 1604/05,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemäldegalerie, Vienna.  There are no less than four Dominicans in this painting, but only two can be identified. St Dominic is on the left and St Peter Martyr is on the right.

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CARAVAGGIO’S ST JEROME IN VALLETTA

September 28, 2019

“St Jerome” 1607/08, Caravaggio, Museum of St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta.  St Jerome (c.342-420) was a scholarly priest whose life of prayer and penance led to him being  recognised as a saint.  His translation of the bible into Latin, known

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GUERCINO’S RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON OF 1619

September 14, 2019

“Return of the Prodigal Son”, Guercino, 1619, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.   When Guercino (1591 -1666) painted this image for the Papal Legate to Ferrara, Cardinal Giacomo Serra, he was only 28.  Perhaps, he identified with the subject, as he returns

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TINTORETTO’S WEDDING AT CANA

August 31, 2019

“Wedding at Cana” , Tintoretto, 1561, Sacristy of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice.  This was originally painted for the Confraternity of the Crocifieri, but was moved to the Salute, on their dissolution in 1657.  So if you stand looking at

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CARAVAGGIO’S SALOME RECEIVES THE HEAD OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

August 24, 2019

“Salome receives the head of John the Baptist”,  Caravaggio,  1609-10, National Gallery London.   Caravaggio painted John the Baptist, again and again. There are at least 11 paintings that show John as a young boy or an adolescent posed in

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RIBALTA’S CHRIST EMBRACING ST BERNARD

August 17, 2019

“Christ embracing St Bernard,” Francisco Ribalta,  1625-27, Prado, Madrid.   From about 1625 Francisco Ribalta and his son, Juan Ribalta, were in Valencia, where they painted this work for the Carthusian Monastery of Portaceli.  Both would die within few years

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CARAVAGGIO’S MADONNA DI LORETO

August 10, 2019

“Madonna di Loreto”, Caravaggio, 1604-6, Cavalletti Chapel, Church of San’ Augustino,  Rome.  On a darkened street a rather beautiful woman stands bare foot on a doorstep. She holds a child. An elderly couple are kneeling before her, each holding a

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LIPPI’S VIRGIN AND CHILD WITH ST JEROME AND ST DOMINIC

August 3, 2019

“The Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Dominic”, Filippino Lippi, c.1485, National Gallery London (currently not on display).   For many years we had an oil painting of St Dominic in our London Priory.  It was very dark but

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BELLINI’S ASSASSINATION OF ST PETER MARTYR

July 6, 2019

“The Assassination of St Peter Martyr”, c.1505-07, Giovanni Bellini. National Gallery London.  A road, leading from a walled city, crosses the city moat and descends along the edge of a wide meadow, before it reaches the dense grove of trees,

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CHRIST ON THE SEA OF GALILEE

June 29, 2019

“Christ on the Sea of Galilee”, circle of Tintoretto, c. 1570, National Gallery of Art, Washington.  This haunting and mysterious image appeals greatly to many disciples of Christ today.  You can find it on any number of Catholic websites.  Nobody

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Edinburgh Catholic Chaplaincy

The Catholic Chaplaincy serves the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.

The Catholic Chaplaincy is also a parish of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh (the Parish of St Albert the Great) and all Catholic students and staff are automatically members of this parish.

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