Blog Template Theology of the Body: Beato at the Met

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Beato at the Met

“Fra Angelico often commented that…the man who occupies himself with the things of Christ should live with Christ.” -- Georgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists

Fr. WB and I went to see the Beato Angelicos at the Met over the weekend with one of our favorite seminarians and our dear friend Anna, who founded one of the greatest NGO's in the world (thanks to Garland at Eye and Mind for the tip-)

One of the most profound exhibits ever. Fra Angelico is most naturally viewed in Florence, whether at the convent of S. Marco or in S. Croce; but the Met's exhibit afforded the dearest and rarest of a proper compendium, and so very up close. It is a moving thing to stare at the tiniest pen strokes of a master whose every work was produced as an act of prayer. Fra Angelico knew adoration, and knew how to depict it. The exhibit and the placards which explained the works in the most unembarrassed tone are a triumph of an adoring eye turned towards Heaven and then humbly approaching the canvas; commendable and remarkable that the Met put this on.

I was particularly struck by the visage of St. Joseph and the sketch of Pietro de la Cruz presenting his case to the Muslim caliph; in the latter, the little monk is situated before the infidel in a posture of prayer, as though to say, "please just allow me to tell you what I have seen, because I must." Anna and I also loved the free-standing angels from a S. Lucia alterpiece. Fr. WB preferred a sketch of the Crucifix (on the flip side of the display is a classical depiction of Justice- how cool) and WM loved the sorrowful King Jesus. Amen.