Easter-Wednesday Paintings

When I find a new member of my favorite painting genre (St. Francis praying), I stand in amazement:


Bernardo Strozzi, St. Francis in Prayer

…I couldn’t find a complementary painting of St. Joseph (for the patron of my other parish). But Jusepe painted this masterpiece of St. Bartholomew:

Jusepe de Ribera Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew

Jusepe de Ribera, Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew

The sharpening of the knife before the flaying resonates with all the more intensity when we keep in mind the after. (Click HERE for the Sistine-chapel version of the after.)

…Meanwhile, just when I thought we could not find a more discomfiting Edward-Hopper painting, it turns out that the Corcoran has owned one for years:

Ground Swell Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper, Ground Swell

Somehow, I find Hopper’s preternatural capacity to depict empty meaninglessness strangely consoling.

Relics on the James

To all the FFVs* of Richmond:

I have “five under the ground” in the most beautiful city in the western hemisphere. I bow to no man in the realm of cosmopolitan patrimony. But your town has some excellent things. I can see why you regard it as the center of the cosmos.

I would have much more to present here, dear reader, if only the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ website were not so impossibly bad.

Does the Kreuser collection of Art Nouveau belt buckles make Richmond the most excellent repository on earth? Just about.

* “First Families of Virginia.” At West Point in the 1840’s, the FFVs considered Stonewall Jackson a hillbilly beneath their notice, since he grew up in the Ohio River basin.

Hopper over the Top

New York Pavements at the Chrysler Museum

Edward Hopper has tortured me for many years.

Some of his paintings serve as bedrock leitmotifs for my entire pilgrim existence.

…But now, “New York Pavements.” Never seen, nor heard tell of it before.

What is the man trying to do to us? When you add wind; when you add off-centeredness and obscurity; when you put a child into this Hopper lens…

His other paintings enclose us in the jail-cell of modern urban solitude. But the sun shines in at the edges, or the night air has some freshness of dawn. The gauze that encloses the world is permeable.

“New York Pavements,” on the other hand, skewers us under a pitilessly overcast sky. And it’s cold. And…Why? why? my God, why do we roll perambulators down the street?

Walter Chrysler, Jr., bought “New York Pavements” in 1976. Did he buy it in order to have a Hopper in his collection? Or did he buy it because he wanted this Hopper in his collection? Did Chrysler catch the over-the-top Hopperness of this one?

Pope Benedict’s Teachings, et al

51767896I prepared an eight-page thematic synthesis of the homilies and talks our Holy Father gave during his visit to the United States last year.

If you would like to read the synthesis, click here.

…At his funeral, Fr. Bill Finch–known to many as a gruff, intimidating man–was called a “peep.” This reminded me that:

You know your pretensions to being an art connoisseur are phony when your favorite 20th-century American painting is reduced to this:


Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett
…Meanwhile, I just heard that my man K.G. may not play in the NBA post-season. A knee injury has plagued him all year.

This is a bitter disappointment for Preacher.

Garnett was my hero last June, when he and the Celtics put the then-hated Kobe Bryant in his place.

(Since then, Kobe became my man when he went to China.)

No Garnett means a tough May and June for Preacher.

…Though perhaps Dwight Howard could be this year’s hero.

If the Magic meet the Cavaliers, Howard could clean LeBron’s clock. Which would be sweet! We shall see…


Guest Contributors

nytWe welcome guest contributors to the on-going discussion and debate on Preacher and Big Daddy.

First of all, don’t miss Loeb Award-nominated Ben White’s exposé on the front page of today’s New York Times. He will discuss this on MSNBC this evening! (Between 6:00 and 6:45.)

Continue reading “Guest Contributors”

Coming up Short

marchmapThe March for Life just keeps getting shorter and shorter.

We used to start at the Ellipse (15th St., N.W.) Then we started at 7th St. This afternoon we started at 4th St.

So it was really the Stroll for Life up Capitol Hill. Nonetheless, it was inspiring and beautiful. There were lots and lots and lots of people. It was the most warm and sunny day we have had for the march for years.

So there is hope. But…

Continue reading “Coming up Short”

Lonely Open American Spaces

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)
Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)

May the painter of this masterpiece rest in peace.

Now that the American landscape is dotted with cellphone towers, the places captured in the paintings of Wyeth and Edward Hopper are not as wonderfully lonely as they once were.

Don’t forget: The Hoyas take on #2 Duke at 1:30! Game is on CBS!

Gas by Edward Hopper
Gas by Edward Hopper

Heartbreaker + New Bests

Fans shower LaBron with confetti in Cleveland. Merry fricking Christmas, arch-nemesis!
Here is a New Year’s resolution: No matter what happens, we WILL NOT give up on the Washington Wizards! We love the Wizards on good days and bad.

What a Christmas gift it would have been if the Wizards had actually beaten the Cleveland Cavaliers!

So close, yet so far.

Yes, there were some bad calls in the last two minutes of the game. But only losers blame refs for losses. (I learned this from my high-school basketball coach, and it is one of the truest rules of sports.)

Anyway, I hope that everyone had a merry Christmas.

The Feast of St. Stephen (today) is a good day to renew one’s exercise routine.

Continue reading “Heartbreaker + New Bests”