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.

Christmastide Painting

Rubens Melchior.jpg

Peter Paul Rubens, Melchior,the Assyrian King

On the lower level of the National Gallery of Art. In a little, out-of-the-way room (rm. G13A). Practically need a star to lead you to it.

Pretty soon: 20 C + M + B 13! The Mayans equivocaron, and time marches on.

All glory to the Babe of Bethlehem.

After He Was Pierced with Arrows

…St. Sebastian recovered. He was tended by Irene. Only later, after he publicly reproached the Emperor Diocletian for mistreating Christians, was St. Sebastian finally martyred by a brutal beating.

Hendrick ter Brugghen, a disciple of Caravaggio, painted this lovely depiction of Irene removing St. Sebastian’s arrows. I for one, philistine that I am, never heard of ter Brugghen before now. But, my gosh. On display at the National Gallery until May 15


Come on, seventy degrees. Come on, baby. So close. Don’t be afraid. Come to papa!

…The Law of Moses bound the Chosen People to a weekly day of rest.

The Law of Death gave the human race rest from sin.

But this is the everlasting Sabbath: To believe in God and the One Whom He has sent…

…On the art beat:

The Sacred Made Real” in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art is NOT TO BE MISSED.

If you do not visit the National Gallery of Art between now and May 31, you will have MADE A BIG MISTAKE…

Opera buffs:

Did you know that Scott Joplin wrote an opera? It is called “Treemonisha.”

They performed it recently at the Atlas Theatre, in my humble Northeast Washington parish.

Here is some of the cast singing one of the ditties:

…St. Patrick’s day is great. But let’s face it. The big day of the week is Friday, the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

All the laws of penance and abstinence fall by the wayside in honor of the holy Patron of the whole Church. (Click HERE if you want to get siked-up for St. Joseph’s day.)

The Pope Brought the Springtime

I have come to proclaim anew, as Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, risen from the dead, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and established as judge of the living and the dead. –Pope Benedict XVI, Nationals’ Park, April 17, 2008

slapshot…I saw Slapshot, the Caps’ mascot, yesterday evening–just moments before the beginning of the first playoff game against the Rangers.

Slapshot was fired up.

The mascot was ready to fight and take no prisoners.

But the actual hockey players were not. And

…Today our Holy Father turns 82.

One year ago, they sang Happy Birthday to him at the White House.

Bush Pope USThe Pope brought the springtime last April. And it has arrived on cue again, on his birthday.

Please allow me to point out that–when the Successor of St. Peter visited the United States–he landed at Andrews Air Force Base, in Prince George’s County.

The Vicar of Christ set foot in P.G.

He also, of course, visited the District.

Not that I want to stir up rivalry among the local jurisdictions. But the Pope never went to Montgomery County or Northern Virginia.

maries…Helen Alvare makes an excellent point in her essay about Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama.

Her point is: Notre Dame’s explanations make no sense, and the Catholic Church is supposed to make sense.

…If you want to see some beautiful manuscript illuminations, click here.

To see them in person, go to the National Gallery of Art on the Mall before the end of July. You can also see beautiful paintings of Dutch cities in happier days, like this: