Via Media

Via Media


There are several exhibits related to our areas of interest around the country. Add more to the comments if you know of them!

At the National Gallery, “Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych”. commented on by R.R. Reno at FT here:

This scene of divine love drawing the Godhead into the wrenching realities of suffering and death finds its complement in the depiction of St. Jerome. It is a medieval and renaissance commonplace to show the somber saint gazing at a skull, recalling the reality of death and judgment. The artist depicts this standard scene but turns St. Jerome’s head away from the skull and directs his gaze toward the scene of the Father receiving the dead Son. St. Jerome’s head is enlarged, his face is tensed, and the veins in his neck bulge. It is as if a vision of the eternal death of the Son so surpasses any thought of his own death that he is about to explode. In this way, St. Jerome seems to represent neither belief nor unbelief, neither joy nor sadness, neither hope nor despair. He is overwhelmed and undone by the mystery of a God who would enter so deeply into suffering and death in order to destroy it finally and completely.


At the Corcoran in DC, "Joan of Arc" , an exhibit partly underwritten by the Knights of Columbus – portions of the exhibit will be on display at the KofC headquarters in New Haven from May through November.

A WaPo look at the exhibit here.

The art of the Vatican mosaicists – in New Orleans from January to June 2007


And then, closer to home, In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite

Visit this extremely rare exhibition of 2,000-year-old Roman frescoes that have never before toured the United States. The exhibition consists of more than 70 works of art and artifacts recovered from five ancient Roman villas located in Stabiae, a resort community of lavish summer homes overlooking the Bay of Naples. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, buried Stabiae in ash and pumice, along with the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Although life in Stabiae was brought to an abrupt end, the treasures and luxurious living quarters were remarkably preserved.


Speaking of art, if it’s your thing, and you’re not visiting the Lion and the Cardinal regularly – change that. It’s endlessly fascinating. The ongoing "Great Clocks of Christendom," Gaudi’s sketch for a New York City skyscraper, a set of mosaics in a Japanese church made of ….butterfly wings.

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Sandra Miesel

posted November 30, 2006 at 11:02 am

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian, which specialize in Asian art, are hosting hosting a blockbuster show, IN THE BEGINNING: BIBLES BEFORE THE YEAR 1000. On display are pages from the oldest Biblical manuscripts known. The text, unfortunately, is based on “modern” Biblical criticism.The Sackler museum shop is selling the catalog on its website, along with other books on icons and Christian art. They have some nice icon reproductions, too, including an unusual pair of SS. Monica and Augustine. This runs until 7 January.
At the other end of the country, the Getty Museum in Malibu has HOLY IMAGE + HALLOWED GROUND: ICONS FROM SINAI. Some of these have never been published muchless lent before. This is a gorgeous catalogue with scholarly text. The show runs until 4 March. The Getty has published quite a few books on medieval manuscripts. See their website to purchase.
And a datum to file away: the Metropolitan Museum always has a sale in January or February in which catalogues of past shows go for half price. You wait at many mouseholes and you catch many mice.

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posted November 30, 2006 at 11:37 am

Agreed, Daniel Mitusi’s The Lion and the Cardinal  is a treasure, and not just pictures. A recent post addressed the sad result of a campaign in some quarters against the richness of historic pious imagery. As an artist the blogger understands that an important role of religious culture is to nourish the imagination — not only the artist’s. What has grown up through generations of devotion, and transmitted repetitively, organically and non-verbally, is almost a living thing and gives birth to “thick” rather than “thin” Christian art in successive eras. It cannot be replaced by a committee.

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posted November 30, 2006 at 12:17 pm

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has exhibition called “Icons from Sinai.” The icons come from the oldest monastery in the world, the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine, which has been in continuous operation since the third century. The exhibition started November 14 and runs through March 4, 2007. Here is a description of it from the museum’s website:
“This exhibition offers an unprecedented look at some of the oldest surviving icons from the Byzantine world, and provides rare insight into monastic life, past and present, at the remote Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine.
Lying in the shadow of Mount Sinai in Egypt, the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine is the world’s oldest continuously operating Christian monastery. Since the third century, monks have resided here, at the foot of the mountain where Moses is said to have encountered God. The present church and monastery walls were commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, who ruled over most of the Mediterranean region, including the Sinai peninsula, between 527 and 565.
Fifty-three objects have traveled from the monastery in Sinai for this exhibition. All were either commissioned by the monastery or received as gifts and have remained in the continuous care of generations of monks at Saint Catherine’s.
Because of its geographic and political isolation from the Byzantine Empire, the monastery escaped the destruction of religious images that was sanctioned by Byzantine emperors during the period of Iconoclasm in the 700s and 800s. The veneration of icons continued uninterrupted at Sinai, and over the centuries the monastery both commissioned and received as gifts numerous icons, manuscripts, and liturgical objects.
Today, Saint Catherine’s monastery is the world’s largest repository of Byzantine icons. The works on display underscore the icon’s central role in religious practice and introduce the public to the compelling history of Saint Catherine’s.”

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posted November 30, 2006 at 12:21 pm

I belatedly see that Sandra Meisel also mentions the Getty exhibition — sorry for the repeat.

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posted November 30, 2006 at 1:25 pm

Amy, here’s another reason for you to treck down to Cincinnati, the Taft Museum of Art:
“Celebrate An Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art with Festive Decorations”
This holiday season, take a break from the hustle and bustle and take a step back to a simpler time with An Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art, open from November 17, 2006 through January 7, 2007. Trees, ornaments, toys and decorations from the mid-19th through early 20th century will be on display throughout the historic house.
A variety of rarely displayed objects and toys created during the years that this former home was inhabited (1820-1931) will grace its halls and rooms. Notably, German feather trees made of wire and goose feathers are trimmed with sparkling ornaments that were made in America or imported from around the world, such as glass icicles, end-of-day ornaments, Czechoslovakian beaded glass ornaments, Japanese Santa candy containers, American paper scrap and tinsel ornaments, Pennsylvania Dutch cotton batting ornaments, and a range of glass ornaments.”
Perhaps a bit more “crafty” than “arty” but we love our little gem museum here in Cincinnati: the Taft Museum of Art.

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Steve Cavanaugh

posted November 30, 2006 at 1:42 pm

Thanks for the heads up, Amy. I’m heading to DC tomorrow for a couple of days, and will check out the Corcoran exhibit.
For anyone else in the DC area this weekend, the CUA symphony is performing their annual Charity Christmas concert at the Nat’l Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Friday Dec. 1 at 7:30 pm. Free admission, free-will offering during concert to support the Washington Archdiocese Hispanic Immigrant Ministry office.

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posted November 30, 2006 at 1:48 pm

The Diptych exhibit is at the National Gallery in Washington, not the Met, right?

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posted November 30, 2006 at 2:43 pm

And you’re neglecting the earth-shattering news of Greg Wiggle leaving the group because of serious health problem?

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posted November 30, 2006 at 3:57 pm

For those in or visiting the SF Bay area, I’d recommend a trip to the Cantor Center for the Arts at Stanford University for a look at the following visiting exhibition:
The Virgin, Saints, and Angels: South American Paintings 1600–1825 from the Thoma Collection
September 20–December 31, 2006
This exhibition of 55 paintings surveys the pictorial tradition of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which encompassed present day Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and parts of Argentina and Chile. This is the first North American exhibition to focus exclusively on the paintings of South America’s Viceregal period. “The Virgin, Saints, and Angels” travels to other North American venues after premiering at Stanford.
Don’t know where else it’s traveling to but we saw it and it was well worth the time. Oh, and it is even free.

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Tom Ryan

posted November 30, 2006 at 6:44 pm

To add to above comments, some northeast USA shows and such:
1. Boston = Museum of Fine Arts ( = “Donatello to Giambologna: Italian Renaissance Sculpture”, January 24 – July 8, 2007
2. Boston = Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art. “Cosmophilia: Islamic Art” until December 31, 2006.
3. New York City = “The Frick Collection” (5th Avenue at 70th; =
“Cimabue and Early Italian Devotional Painting” until December 31, 2006
4. New York City = “Museum of Biblical Art” (= Mobia,, Broadway at 61st).
>> “Biblical Art in a Secular Century: Selections, 1896-1993″
December 14, 2006 – March 11, 2007
>> one-time lecture = “Matisse, Léger, Le Corbusier and the Renewal of Christian Art and Architecture after World War II”, January 11. Gertje Utley.
>> symposium “Wrestling with the Angel: Art and Religion in the Twentieth Century”, January 26-27. Co-sponsored by The Center for Religion and Culture at Fordham University.
>> one-time lecture = “From Gauguin to Picasso and Serrano: The Uses and Misuses of Christian Iconography”, March 8. Gertje Utley.
>> “Angels of Light: Ethiopian Art from the Walters Art Museum” March 23—May 20, 2007
>> “The Christian Story: Five Asian Artists Today” June 8—September 23, 2007…This exhibition explores how the Christian story is adapted to appeal to a largely non-Christian audience.
5. New York City = “Metropolitan Museum” (, 5th Avenue) = always fun to visit in Advent and Christmas for the tree and creche at the Medieval Sculpture Hall (untill at least December 28)…conveniently near the early Christian collection (worth a trip all year). Obviously the Met and the Cloisters (northern tip of Manhattan) have way more all year than can be described here.
6. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Art Museum “A Painting in Context: Pietro da Cortona’s Saint Martina Refuses to Adore the Idols” until January 21 (the show that is, not her refusal)
7. Philadelphia = Philadelphia Museum of Art ( “Latin American Colonial Art” until January 31, 2007.
8. Baltimore: The recently re-opened Basilica of the Assumption has a new and still-small museum of early American Catholic artifacts; plus worth a stop to check out the reno.
9. Washington DC = Sackler (at Freer / Smithsonian) = “In the Beginning” until January
7…as noted in comment #1 above, a blockbuster. I do not think that the prose hurts the pleasure at seeing so many fragments , scrolls, codices from 1st millennium. Best early biblical artifacts show I’ve seen in my 45 years of scouting them out. Best museum stop on northeast corridor until Epiphany Sunday!
10. Washington DC = National Gallery. In answer to question posed in comment above, the diptych is here, not NYC. While there, don’t forget to see the “Suger chalice” serenely reigning in gallery # G-18. You’ll be alone there with the chalice and the eucharistic dove.

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