Our Faith in Art

The classical artists are telling us something in the art they produce. Each one represents an artists unique reception of the Gospel and the stories in scripture.

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“Christ Carrying the Cross”

Late Renaissance, 1508 or 1509 by Titan 

Christ Carrying the Cross by Titian is an oil painting on canvas. When he painted it, Titian created a dark and moody feel to the painting by using dark and sombre colours such as the background painted in black. The only bright colours are in the face of Christ who is being led with a noose around his neck as he carries the cross and the angry face of his executioner placing the noose around the neck of Christ.

The detail of the blood pouring from Our Lord′s head, crowned with thorns.

Simon assisting Jesus in carrying his cross.

The artist uses the eye to symbolize the depth of Our Lord′s suffering. Perhaps not just bodily, but also that of his human spirit.

“The Torment of Saint Anthony [of the Desert]”

Late 15th century (c. 1487-88) by Michelangelo 

Painted when the artist was 12 or 13 years old, The Torment of Saint Anthony depicts St. Anthony of the Desert’s (or St. Anthony the Great’s) struggle with the the devil and the demons during his time in isolation in the desert. The demons would at times assault him physically, as well as through strong temptations. But the painting also depicts another truth. The demons assault of St. Anthony was to prevent his advancement in holiness. In the painting you see St. Anthony flying, achieving great height despite the great number of demons trying to drag him back down.  Anthony resisted them through constant prayer, fasting and reflecting on the scripture.  It was impossible for the devils to stop his ascent to holiness with such a powerful spiritual regimen.   It’s true for us, too in this spiritual life. Through constant prayer, self denial, and reading and reflecting on God’s word in the Bible, the forces of evil that try to hold us back from holiness are unable to achieve their mission.

“The Last Supper”

Circa 1562 by Juan De Juanes – Spain

Painted for the base of the main altarpiece of San Esteban in Valencia, Inspired by Leonardo Davinci both in the definition of the space and in the eloquent expressiveness of the apostles. In keeping with traditional iconography in Spain, he focussed the scene on Jesus serene and triumphant at the moment of consecrating the Sacred Host. The chalice which appears in the centre of the table reproduces the one kept in Valencia Cathedral. The jug and basin in the foreground allude to the foot washing that took place before the supper. All of the Apostles bear halos with their names except Judas Iscariot, whose name appears on the bench where he sits. His beard and hair are red and, in keeping with tradition, he wears yellow -the color that symbolizes envy- and hides a bag of money from his companions….Also every knife on the table is pointed at Judas! I’m just sayin’