Monday, April 23, 2012

Wildt: The forgotten genius ?

The Italian city of Forlì  near Bologna is hosting an exhibtion entitled Adolfo Wildt - L'anima e le forme tra Michelangelo e Klimt (Adolfo Wildt - The Soul and the Shapes Between Michelangelo and Klimt) in the Musei San Domenico

Wildt (1868 - 1931) was an Italian sculptor of Swiss descent. At aged eleven he entered an apprenticeship in a workshop and by aged eighteen his accomplishment was such that he was famous as a sculptor

From 1885 to 1886 he attended the Accademia di Brera in Milan

A symbolist and an Expressionist. He engaged in the Futurist movement but moved it towards classical theme. His works have a Gothic look,  His works appear to be from another world

Unfortunately he became associated with Italian Fascism

He had a melancholy temperament and perhaps that is reflected in his works. But he produced a substantial corpus of religious works

His reputation went into steep decline.His works are undeservedly ill-remembered today. Perhaps the exhibition will re- introduce his works to a modern audience. 

Adolfo Wildt (1868 - 1931) 
Carattere fiero-anima gentile (detail)
Marble with gilding
Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’ Pesaro, Venice 

Adolfo Wildt (1868 - 1931) 
Vergine (The Virgin)
Rose di Gandolglia marble  on mount
36 cm
Private collection

Adolfo Wildt (1868 - 1931) 
Santa Lucia
1926 - 7
Marble and gilded bronze
47 x 36 x 20 cm 
Musei Civici. Forlì,

Adolfo Wildt (1868-1931), 
Dei et Christi eius aevum (from the cycle "Le Grandi Giornate di Dio e dell’Umanità"),
Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scenes from the "época dorada de la santidad"

Teófilo Castillo Guas
 1857 –  1922
Los funerales de Santa Rosa (The Funeral  of St Rose of Lima) (1918)
Oil on canvas
Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru

Anonymous from The Cusco School
Saint Rose of Lima with the Child Jesus [detail]
 c 1680 - 1700
Oil on canvas
Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru

Isabella Flores y de Oliva, known as  St. Rose of Lima (1586-1617) was fortunate to have lived in Lima  in the “época dorada de la santidad”, the Golden Age of Sanctity. 

She was confirmed as a girl of thirteen by Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo. Archbishop of Lima (1538 - 23 March 1606).

She heard preaching by Saint  Francisco Solano and by Saint Juan Masías. She knew Saint  Martín de Porres (1579-1639) , and Saint Juan Masías (1585-1645),  - all three lived in Lima at the same time

She died on August 24, 1617, at the very young age of 31

Her funeral was held in the cathedral, attended by all the public authorities of Lima The then  archbishop himself gave her eulogy

From an early age her role model was Saint Catherine of Siena, T.O.S.D, (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380), a tertiary of the Dominican Order later after canonisation to be declared a Doctor of the Church

Like St Catherine, she became and died a tertiary Like her role model, she adopted the idea of living in the interior cell in union with Christ

Her cult transcended all classes and races

In 1671 St Rose was declared the first canonized native saint of the Americas, a confirmation and symbol that  Christianity had taken root into American soil

Shortly after this she was declared Patron Saint of Peru in 1669, and then of the entire New World including the Philippines in 1670 

Her biographer records a few of her notable sayings:

"If human beings knew what it is to live in grace, no suffering would frighten them and they would gladly suffer any hardship, for grace is the fruit of patience".  
"Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven" 
"When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbours, because in them we serve Jesus"  
P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668)

Her last recorded words were:
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, be with me always"

Monday, April 09, 2012

Testament of Faith

Giovanni Capassini, (active 1555 - 1577)
The Triptyque of The Resurrection  1555
Oil on wood panel
Left: Musée du Louvre, Paris
Centre and Right: Lycée Gabriel Fauré, Tournon

Giovanni Capassini, (active 1555 - 1577)
Left hand panel: Christ and the Supper at Emmaus
Oil on wood panel
2m x 4.480 m
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Giovanni Capassini (active 1555 - 1577)
Centre panel: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Oil on wood panel: 
2.000 m. x 2.260 m. 
Lycée Gabriel Fauré, Tournon

Giovanni Capassini (active 1555 - 1577)
Right panel: Donor [Cardinal François de Tournon praying with a scene from Easter Sunday in the background
Oil on wood panel
1.160 m. x 1.010 m. 
Lycée Gabriel Fauré, Tournon

Giovanni Capassini (active 1555 - 1577)
Outer face: The Three Maries
Oil on wood Panel (grisaille)
2m x 4.480 m
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Capassini was born in Florence. He was trained in the workshop of Andrea del Sarto. Like many Florentne painters of his time he went to Rome. There he acquired patronage from the French cardinal François de Tournon, (1489-1562)vwho is known as "le Richelieu de François 1er"

He was the contemporary of Wolsey whom he met at the negotiationsat Amiens between France and England. 

He succeeded his elder brother when his brother was killed along with the cream of the French aristocracy at the Battle of Pavia. He helped to fill  the power vacuum created by the Battle

The cardinal`s court was at Lyon, the premier See of France and there Capassini settled. He married there and his name became "Capassin"

This work had a special importance for the Cardinal. It was for the College which he founded. The college is still in existence and is now known as Le Lycée Gabriel Fauré.

He founded it in 1536 and imbued it with the spirit of Catholic reform and as a platform for the then newly founded Jesuit order in South West France. It is the second oldest college in France

In 1714 the school and its library were destroyed by a fire. The Triptych was broken up. Only some parts remained in the College.

The first panel shows Christ breaking bread with the two disciples who despite having accompanied Christ for most of the day do not recognise the risen Christ

It is described in Luke 24:13-32 and Mark 16:12-13

Christ is about to break bread 

On the breaking of bread their eyes were opened and they recognized him

In the times of the Reformation, the Eucharistic theme is more than evident

It is the Lucan account of the Resurrection which suffuses the works comprising the Triptych  in its entirety

In the central painting, we see the empty tomb. By his Resurrection Christ conquers Death. Christ`s disciples, the Jewish authoritites and the Roman authorities all agree on one thing: the tomb was empty

In the third panel we see the donor of the work: Cardinal François de Tournon

In the background we see the encounter between the risen Christ and St Mary Magdalene ("Noli me tangere"). See John 20: 1 - 18

Mary discovered that the tomb was empty and even she did not recognise the risen Christ at first:

"14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 
15 Woman, he said, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she said, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. 
16 Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, Rabboni! (which means Teacher). 
17 Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
When the work was closed, we see the grisaille: the three Maries who come to the tomb. This is mentioned in all four Gospels but it is only in Mark that they are named:
" When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body."
(Mark 16:1)

Mary Magdalene  was first witness and was Apostle to the Apostle regarding the news of the Resurrection

South western France had a particular devotion to Mary Magdalene.

During the Catholic Counter Reformation, St Mary Magdalene acquired a new impetus as a figure of repentance

The triptych is a powerful testament of faith by one of France`s most powerful men

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Resurrection of Christ

Blessed Fra Angelico c 1417-1455 and/or  the Master of Cell 2
The Resurrection of Christ
in Cell 8  Monastery of San Marco
c. 1439 - 1445
1.92 m x 1.675 m
The National  Museum of San Marco, Florence

1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”  
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”  
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid
Mark 16: 1 - 8.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  
15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.  
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  
23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  ... 
29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?  
30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,  
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Redemption of Easter

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) 1541 - 1614 (workshop of)
Christ the Redeemer
OIl on canvas
72 cm x 57 cm
Galleria Parmeggiani, Reggio Emilia

"25 As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God"
Job 19: 25- 26

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) 1541 - 1614
Saint John the Evangelist 1605
Oil on canvas 99 cm x 77 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

The Evangelist John is shown holding up a chalice with a serpent. His other hand beckons.

His Gospel is different from the three Synoptic Gospels It is only in the Gospel of John we read of one character Nicodemus.

NIcodemus appears and disappears from the narrative in John. Yet his role is an important one.

In one episode we read of Nicodemus coming to Christ at night. The two converse
"13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.  
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.  
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."
Jesus to Nicodemus John 3: 13 - 18

Friday, April 06, 2012

Job and the Crucifixion

Francesco Raibolini (called Francia) (c.1450 - 1517)
Calvary with Saint Job at the foot of the Cross
c. 1514
Transposed from wood onto canvas
2.55 x 1.75m
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This fine painting is rather unusual

It depicts Christ on the Cross. With Mary and St John there is another figure: the biblical Patriarch, Job, known as St Job. Job, in his suffering, is lying on the ground beneath the suffering Christ

The work was commissioned to be carried out by Francesco Raibolini (called Francia),who was one of the most highly regarded of the Bolognese painters of his day

Gillet in The Catholic Encyclopedia.(1909)  described him as living "apart from the pagan and rationalistic movement of the fifteenth century, was an isolated man of great and noble gifts, original and pure in his use of them, in a word the most eminent personality in Northern Italian art previous to Titian and Correggio"

He was the artist of many religious works

The work was commissioned as the altarpiece for the High Altar of one of Bologna`s famous churches: St Giobbe (St Job). (but now no longer one) This church was attached to the Ospedale di S. Giobbe (the Hospital of St Job) which was the hospital for the treatment of those suffering from syphilis and later other plagues

The veneration and cult of Job was not confined to Bologna but extended to the whole of northeastern Italy. 

In Venice, for example, the church of Saint Job was founded in 1462

Over the high altar of the Church stood the famous Bellini painting of 'Madonna and Child enthroned between SS Job, John the Baptist, Sebastian, Francis and Louis of Toulouse'.

Giovanni Bellini 1426 - 1516
San Giobbe Altarpiece 
c. 1487
Oil on panel
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
The detail shows Sts Francis, John the Baptist and Job. 

The devotion appears to have spread from Eastern Christian communities Orthodox as well as Melchite and Coptic

There was even in the Latin West, a Mass in the rite of Saint Job such as found in a Missal published in Venice in 1527.  However such rites were abolished by Pope Pius V in his Tridentine liturgical reforms. 

The theme of Suffering in the story of Job is too well known to require repetition. 

Likewise the suffering of the victims of pox and other plagues could only be compared to the misfortunes of Job In the print below we see a Doctor treating a victim of the plague (1482)


Back to the masterwork by Francia

It is a Christian meditation on Suffering

In trying to make sense of what it conveys perhaps we should look at another Christian meditation on suffering by Blessed Pope John Paul II, his Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering) ( 11th February 1984) Even more appropriate since today is Good Friday

"11. Job however challenges the truth of the principle that identifies suffering with punishment for sin. And he does this on the basis of his own opinion. For he is aware that he has not deserved such punishment, and in fact he speaks of the good that he has done during his life. 
In the end, God himself reproves Job's friends for their accusations and recognizes that Job is not guilty. His suffering is the suffering of someone who is innocent and it must be accepted as a mystery, which the individual is unable to penetrate completely by his own intelligence. 
The Book of Job does not violate the foundations of the transcendent moral order, based upon justice, as they are set forth by the whole of Revelation, in both the Old and the New Covenants. At the same time, however, this Book shows with all firmness that the principles of this order cannot be applied in an exclusive and superficial way. 
While it is true that suffering has a meaning as punishment, when it is connected with a fault, it is not true that all suffering is a consequence of a fault and has the nature of a punishment. The figure of the just man Job is a special proof of this in the Old Testament. 
Revelation, which is the word of God himself, with complete frankness presents the problem of the suffering of an innocent man: suffering without guilt. Job has not been punished, there was no reason for inflicting a punishment on him, even if he has been subjected to a grievous trial. 
From the introduction of the Book it is apparent that God permitted this testing as a result of Satan's provocation. For Satan had challenged before the Lord the righteousness of Job: "Does Job fear God for nought? ... Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face".
         And if the Lord consents to test Job with suffering, he does it to demonstrate the latter's righteousness.   
         The suffering has the nature of a test.
The Book of Job is not the last word on this subject in Revelation. In a certain way it is a foretelling of the Passion of Christ. 
But already in itself it is sufficient argument why the answer to the question about the meaning of suffering is not to be unreservedly linked to the moral order, based on justice alone. While such an answer has a fundamental and transcendent reason and validity, at the same time it is seen to be not only unsatisfactory in cases similar to the suffering of the just man Job, but it even seems to trivialize and impoverish the concept of justice which we encounter in Revelation.  
12. The Book of Job poses in an extremely acute way the question of the "why" of suffering; it also shows that suffering strikes the innocent, but it does not yet give the solution to the problem.,,, 
Christ drew close above all to the world of human suffering through the fact of having taken this suffering upon his very self. 
During his public activity, he experienced not only fatigue, homelessness, misunderstanding even on the part of those closest to him, but, more than anything, he became progressively more and more isolated and encircled by hostility and the preparations for putting him to death.  
Christ is aware of this, and often speaks to his disciples of the sufferings and death that await him: 
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise"
Christ goes towards his Passion and death with full awareness of the mission that he has to fulfil precisely in this way. 
Precisely by means of this suffering he must bring it about "that man should not perish, but have eternal life". 
Precisely by means of his Cross he must strike at the roots of evil, planted in the history of man and in human souls. 
Precisely by means of his Cross he must accomplish the work of salvation. This work, in the plan of eternal Love, has a redemptive character."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

From the Womb to the Tomb

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) 
Job désespéré 1960 
Lithograph 52.5 x 38 cm 
Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice

Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat (1833-1922) 
Job 1880 
Oil on canvas 1.610 m. x 1.290 m 
Musée Bonnat, Bayonne

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) 
The prophet Jeremiah 1968
 Oil on canvas 1.150 m. x 1.463 m. 
 Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice 

 Some of the most chilling images in the Old Testament are in the Book of Job
"Why did I not die at birth, Come forth from the womb and expire? Job 3:1 
'I should have been as though I had not been, Carried from womb to tomb.' Job 10:19
Assailed by afflictions and deep despair, Job curses the day and the night in which he was conceived and born; because, had he never been brought into existence, he would never have suffered such pain 

 He longs for the blackness and coldness of the void, sweet Oblivion 

 The image of the womb which bears life being transformed into a death bearing tomb is to say the least startling and disturbing

 A similar sentiment is expressed in the curse of Jeremiah in his time of trial:
"Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, “A son is born to you,” making him very glad ... because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great." Jeremiah 20:15, 17
Jeremiah gives the reason for the curse: his birth had brought him only a life of hardship and sorrow. Both again eventually rise to new joyful faith, but only after a long period Both recognise the intimate connection between the initial moment of life and the action of the all-loving God the Creator.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you" (Jeremiah 1:5)
"You have fashioned and made me; will you then turn and destroy me? Remember that you have made me of clay; and will you turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love; and your care has preserved my spirit" (Job 10:8-12).
From their passing attractions to the idea of Death, Job and Jeremiah recover and become precursors of the Gospel of Life 

 They celebrate Eternal Life, the Divine Life "the Principle of life, the Cause and sole Wellspring of life [which] [e]very living thing must contemplate ...and give it praise: it is Life which overflows with life". (Pseudo- Dionysius the Areopagite, On the Divine Names, 6, 1-3: PG 3, 856-857)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

El Greco: Art, Faith and Reason

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) 1541 - 1614
Christ carrying the Cros
Oil on canvas, unframed 
39 7/8 x 34 in. (101.3 x 86.4 cm.
Private collection

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) 1541 - 1614
Christ on the Cross
Oil on canvas, 
95.5 x 61 cm 
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Rodolfo Papa's 'Discorsi sull'arte sacra' (Discourses on Sacred Art)  is a modern work which attempts to explain the necessity of a proper sacred art

In Zenit (Italian) there has been a series of extracts from the work

Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments wrote the forward for the book and recently Zenit (English) published a Commentary by the Cardinal on the book. The commentary is entitled "Sacred Art and Its Most Intimate Essence"

In the article, the Cardinal makes it clear that Papa`s work is consistent with the ideas of the present Pope.

As an Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, he is also known as "Little Ratzinger"

In his recent commentary, as befits someone from Toledo, he provided a meditation on the works of another former resident of Toledo: El Greco, whose religious art had a deep impression on the spiritual life of Toledo and far beyond:

" I think of the many men of art that are faithful reflections and testimonies to the truth of this relationship between art and faith, which the author of this book magnificently expresses, and of the artists and works of art themselves to whom in the course of the book, he likewise makes reference. I think, for example, of the brilliant universal painter of the Spanish “Golden Age,” El Greco, in the proximity of the celebration of his fourth centenary.  
Neither the person, nor the consequences of the work of El Greco can be separated from their religious dimensions, from the Christian faith. Everything in them reflects the greatness of a man of spirit with a special “divine touch”, capable of perceiving and molding, in the great features and impression of the colors of his unique painting, the supreme beauty, the infinite abyss of perfection, incomparable and sovereign.  
All his works, great and unique, reflect the profoundness of his soul, image of his Creator who molded it with the delicate touch of His “divine brush.”  
In all the work of El Greco the sublime spirit always appears, that spirit that contemplated and penetrated the “Mystery,” led to its density, and expressed it with all the elevation of art that emerges from the depth of a being illuminated by this experience, that transcends the superficial glance incapable of raising itself towards the high summit of the spirit.  
El Greco immerses himself in the profundity of the Gospel, in the mystery of the Incarnation - of God made man for men and for their handing Him over to the Cross, in the victory over death - that enemy of man; with such great beauty and drama as El Greco knew how to express in his work. 
Like this, with the deep roots of a Christian faith, well-formed and capable of giving reason for its truth, El Greco, in all of his pictorial work, shows the fundamental reality of this faith, teaches and speaks of the most profound mysteries to the uncouth and simple, catechizes, elevates, leads to contemplation, to wonder, to veneration, to the prayer of petition and of praise; gives reason to faith, shows the symphony and harmony of her beauty, and its emission and its expression in the most alive and genuine human spirit.  
There were particular circumstances of the historical time in which he worked, yet his art continues to speak today, as it did yesterday, with a most living actuality, because they are not works of the ephemeral circumstance and moment that quickly pass; but rather express a reality that does not die, and which he does so with the language of the “height of the soul”, as the mystics would say.  
He speaks with the brushes and colors from “this profound center of the soul” where every man knows and senses himself comprehended, being from any generation, any time in history.
As a man of firm “Christianity” as well as a son of his time, El Greco reflects man, for whom he manifests a living and singular passion.  
Who among us cannot see this passion in The Entierro de Duca de Orgaz or in the Expolio or in the Apostolado in the Sacristy of the Cathedral of Toledo or in the San Jose in the same Cathedral?  
The hands, the eyes, the faces, the movements of the bodies of their characters, everything, all of his work is an expression of how man sees and of man’s drama: the man that suffers and that loves, who lives this drama of existence and his desire for happiness, loved by God, the man who is from God, loved and elevated, the man saved and called to participate in His glory: the truth of man, as He is before God. Well reflected in his art is that “the glory of God is a living man” (S. Irenaeus of Lyon). 
All his work manifests man, expresses man as he penetrates to the profundity of the human being, but not as the pagan or mere humanist would see; rather, there is a notable difference: that which permits the vision of faith and leads to it with a particular glance, the glance of truth which is inseparable from beauty. 
 Behind the faces or the bodies, the hands or the eyes, the colors and the folds of the cloths or the movement of the bodies, there is the truth that professes his faith concerning man. 
This faith, decisively Christian and Christocentric, is, equally, profoundly anthropological, human and is the fundamental key to enter and immerse oneself in the richness and greatness of El Greco, as in the most authentic occidental art.  
His works, as all others born of the Christian faith, are works that are not stripped- and cannot be stripped- of their aura, of the aura of beauty. 
 Likewise they are not – and we do not want and cannot permit them to become – pure and simple objects of pleasure for their formal, aesthetic quality, pure and simple objects of learning for the connoisseur, pure and simple objects of distracted curiosity of visitors in exhibits and museums.  
His art is where the saint and the believer encounter each other, beauty is the splendor of grace. Here the beauty turns our attention to “another” we cannot simply dispose of, but that nevertheless attracts us, calming and pacifying us.  
Here, through the beauty, emanates a force that neither crushes nor makes subservient, but that sustains. Here diffuses a freedom which emanates incessantly from the depths and from the center of our being frees us: freedom surges from truth and beauty.  
Here, above all, opened to us is the communication of the divine gift and love which communicates itself to us; here hope appears, and here the future of a new humanity and of a humanity with a future paints itself."

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) 1541 - 1614
Christ on the Cross Adored by Two Donors
Oil on canvas
 2,48 m x  1,80 m.
The Louvre, Paris

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) 1541 - 1614
Saint Francis in Prayer before the Crucifix
Oil on canvas
105.5 x 86.5 cm 
Fine Arts Museum, Bilbao