View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Public Catholic Art

A couple of people commenting on my post about the closing of Holy Redeemer Parish asked about pictures of the interior of the church building. I have none -and the building is now used by another denomination, so I don't know what they still have in there, or where the Catholic art - statues, paintings, and so on - might be.

But the comments got me to thinking again about religious - and especially, Catholic - art in churches and public places.

Those earlier thought had been prompted by a Rochester website listing public art - I had wondered then if it might be possible to have a site devoted to local Catholic/religious art.

Yes, I know, that opens the door to endless debates about what qualifies as art and the quality of that art. What some people consider profound and moving other people might consider trite or old-fashioned, and what other people people regard as powerful and inspiring other people might consider cold or too modern. Some people are moved by one style of architecture that other people might find too ornate, others might be happy with another style of architecture that other people find plain. Some people find such things important to their worship and spirituality, others just don't care about such things at all. And if one group was selected to chose what qualified as "good art and architecture," another group would likely oppose that group and its choices.


As for me, I have neither the equipment nor the technical know how to do justice to such a project. Just this morning I took my camera to my parish, St. Theodore's, for morning Mass, and discovered that I did not know how to overcome the glare from the glass over one painting (a more traditional one). Other pieces demanded a steadier hand to get a straight picture!

Here's three pieces that I did photograph.

Outside the main entrance there is a statue of Mary. Art?

Inside the church there is another statue of Mary, "Blessed Mother with Children of the World". Art?

There is also a painting called "Christ the Healer". Art?

My own taste runs to icons and wood carvings. Of the three pieces of art I've posted here, I like the outside statue of Mary best (maybe because it is in nature surrounded by flowers?). But that does not mean that the other pieces might not be appreciated by others. Or that the other small statues in the church, the more traditional painting that defied my photographic skills, the angels flanking the altar, etc., might not prove inspiring for others.

One of the beauties of the Catholic faith is that it is "catholic."


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