Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bric-à-brac for November '12

1. 500 Years from the Unveiling of the Sistine Chapel's Ceiling

The Delphic Sibyl (Cappella Sistina, Vatican)
On October 31st, the Eve of All Saints, the world celebrated 500 years from the finishing & first public showing of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It is as much a work of art as one of theology, a worthy emblem of the Renaissance but also a deep immersion in the history of salvation, a Biblical trip into history. The rest of the chapel is itself a celebration of beauty and faith, with walls covered in paintings by Perugino, Botticelli,  Ghirlandaio; when one visits it, the beauty of it all becomes apparent, even if it is the ceiling, and especially the creation scene there, as well the Last Judgment on the western wall, that are known by most.

You are invited therefore to make a virtual visit and delight in a panoramic view of the chapel (use the + and - buttons on the bottom left for the zoom function). To learn more about the paintings and the Sistine Chapel, you can visit this attractively slick multimedia guide, or go even more in depth with a dedicated page on the Web Gallery of Art (one of our favorite resources). And I should not forget to recommend the wonderfully balanced and realistic movie, The Agony and the Ecstasy (based on Irving Stone's homonymous book), which deals quite admirably with the relationship between art, history and faith.

2. Metropolitan Museum Catalogs  - Available for Free Download

Wonderful news from the Met, as they are offering their excellent art catalogs for online viewing or free download (in .pdf format). If you have been collecting them at second-hand shops or by rummaging through book sales, or if you have been purchasing new ones online, here is now a wonderful tool, which intends to gradually cover all their out of print materials. Browse and choose to your liking, from the MetPublications website. [notified by I Require Art]

3. Hibaku no Maria

One of the lesser-known facts about the bombing of Nagasaki is that it managed to destroy, in one coup, the largest Christian community - 22,000 strong - of Japan. What centuries of persecution and, in fact, of extermination policies did not manage to accomplish, the Allies did, in one strike. A powerful memento of this is the Hibaku no Maria (the "bombed" Mary), which is the remaining, scarred head of a sculpture of the Madonna from the destroyed Nagasaki cathedral. Learn more about the story of the statue, the history of Catholics in Nagasaki and in Japan, or just look at some additional images of the Hibaku no Maria, which has since become a powerful symbol of the senselessness of war and a message/messenger of peace (as the current Archbishop of Nagasaki explains in this video). [signaled by St. Peter's List]

Image: St. Peter's List

4. Dresch Quartet

Dresch Mihály, the saxophone- (and assorted reed instruments-) player & his quartet, with one of their typical, Eastern European folk- infused jazz pieces. Green and red lines on a canvas with folk motives.  

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