Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Chained Goldfinch

Fabritius is generally considered Rembrandt's most gifted pupil and a painter of outstanding originality and distinction, but he died tragically young in the explosion of the Delft gunpowder magazine, leaving only a tiny body of work. Of all Rembrandt's pupils, Fabritius was the only one to develop his own artistic style. Fabritius' portraits feature delicately lit subjects against light-colored, textured backgrounds. He became interested in the technical aspects of painting. He used cool color harmonies to create shape in a luminous style of painting.
This very small painting on a panel measuring 13"x 9" is of a chained golfinch and one of only a handful of paintings to survive down the ages. Against a luminous, whitewashed wall—a hallmark of the Delft school but here marked by crumbling plasterwork and patches of scumbled, slate-blue priming—Fabritius paints to scale a common goldfinch tethered by a delicate metal chain. The artist's name and the date at the lower edge appear not painted but incised into the same blue-gray ground, and the color is repeated in the square feedbox at center, in cast shadows, in underpainting on the circular wooden rungs, and in the bird's soft down. The composition is elegant in its spare simplicity: Only the goldfinch and its shadow offset the subtle balance of hard edges and swagging curves that create its perfect symmetry.

The slope of the box, the slanted shade, and the steep angle at which we see the bird suggest that Fabritius intended his small painting to be hung high and viewed at a slight distance, the vantage point at which its captured illusion of a tiny creature peering down from its perch is most convincing. The painter draws us near, however, with the dazzling virtuosity of his brushwork. Strokes of paint remain perceptible on the surface and range from veils of thin pigment and soft swirls of darkened reds to crusted threads of glistening white impasto.

Apparently, the goldfinch was a favorite pet in Dutch homes and is often seen depicted in Dutch paintings. The goldfinch had also figured in countless devotional images as a symbol of death and resurrection, its small spot of red plumage an allusion to Christ's passion.
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704483004575524242638692182

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Lady of Good Remedy

800 years ago Christians were being captured and sold into slavery by the thousands, and nobody knew what to do about it. Then, in the year 1198, a man had an idea. St. John of Matha founded the Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christian slaves and set them free. To carry out this plan, the Trinitarians needed large amounts of money. So, they placed their fund-raising efforts under the patronage of Mary. They were so successful at that, over the centuries, the Trinitarians were able to free thousands and thousands of people and to return them safely home. In gratitude for her miraculous assistance, St. John of Matha honored Mary with the title of "Our Lady of Good Remedy." Devotion to Mary under this ancient title is widely known in Europe and Latin America, and the Church celebrates her feast day on October 8. Our Lady of Good Remedy is often depicted as the Virgin Mary handing a bag of money to St. John of Matha. When in need - for whatever reason, but especially where you have had difficulty obtaining help - invoke the aid of Our Lady of Good Remedy, and you will surely experience the power of her intercession.
This is one of my very favorite go to prayers. I cannot tell you how many times my prayers have been answered in a miraculous way by Our dear Mother.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Litany of Humility

My daughter gave me this prayer just before she got married and I have said it many times. I firmly believe, no prayer is for the timid, because every prayer is asking God to break through our stony hearts, every prayer asks for a deeper communion with Him than we have, and God takes us at our word. I think it's actually changing me for the better.

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Art is not what you see.....

Edgar Degas said, "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Just came across this wonderfully talented artist, Anne-France Fulgence. Her work is beautiful; it's poetry.

A F Fulgence - Between Light and Shadow

Anne-France Fulgence, artist

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Greater Love has no man than this.....

John 15:12-17
12) "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13) Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14) You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15) No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17) This I command you, to love one another.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beauty without virtue

“Beauty without virtue is like a fair flower that has an offensive odor. But true beauty bathes in that light without which nothing is beautiful. Beauty is a gift of God, like the rain. He allows the rain to fall upon the just and the wicked, and He gives beauty not only to the good, but even to the wicked. Wicked beauty strikes the eye, but the inner beauty of grace wins the soul.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Guide to Contentment)Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hero

This is one of my grand-sons pretending to smoke Papa's pipe -- it may not be PC, but it is so darn cute!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Clouds

I don't know what it is about clouds, but I find them so fascinating. They are at once seemingly substantial and yet ephemeral. They are so beautiful -- I want to paint this pic of clouds. Will post if it comes out well.