Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Monday, March 4, 2013

A little question of Apses

The Apse in Question
My sister, blogging at Niggle's Sketchbook, recently posted about a certain apse painting which was painted by a graffiti artist. She thinks it's beautiful and elevating and I don't particularly.

The fact that it has the ability to lift the mind to God (whether it's mine or my sister's) means that there is some merit to it. Because I don't see it as clearly as she does, that means I have to blog about it.

Thinking further about the apse in question, I realized that it's what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI might call a "first step in a movement toward a different way" of considering "urban" art. It's by no means perfect and by no means the best which can be done in graffiti. Nevertheless, it is moving in the right direction and when I first saw it I thought, "How cool that people are getting back to the traditions of symbolic painting.

Speaking of which, icons and apse mosaics/paintings are probably my favorite form of religious art, so I have pretty strong feelings about it. I've also done a lot of thinking on the subject. Even in early Christian iconography there were poorly done icons and brilliantly done icons.

This is somewhat crude.

Compared with this.

Or this.
And this is modern AND traditional.

The poorly done ones were not bad in the sense that they broke down the faith of the believer. In fact, they could be used very well by the early Christians to pray with reverence to God.

I don't think this quite captures...something...
The fact is, I don't like the style of the apse painting. It's crude and cartoony and seems to exaggerate aspects of the painting for no reason. Then again, I've never seen it in person, so who am I to judge? I do think, though, that this doesn't show the full potential of the art form and that the style was chosen because of the penchant of modern liturgical artists to be somewhat abstract and cartoony.

All in all, I believe this to be a wonderful first step in a movement toward a renewed sense of the sacred by elevating a "low" art form for the glory of God. I just hope that future graffiti artists will go beyond what is expected by the current trends of liturgical art.

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