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Painting propaganda — 10 Comments

  1. The visual and literary art of the early medieval period, of course, often portrays a warrior-Christ who defeats the devil, the emphasis on suffering being a development of the 12th century onwards. I suppose the 12th century is indeed a period of renewed emphasis on centralised control (the ‘problem’ of married priests comes in for a good deal of attention in early Norman England, for example), but the focus on suffering is also to do with a theological and devotional shift.

    I must say I dislike all those goopy 16th C Italian pietas as well. I like the earlier stuff (Fra Angelico etc).

  2. It was one of those daft arguments where after making a sweeping statement, one feels compelled to defend the position taken!

    I do like Fra Angelico and I do like some religious work, Edward Burne Jones and Stanley Spencer spring immediately to mind (though they are modern painters.

    I think there is an inverse correlation between church power and artistic freedom.

  3. Oh you think too deeply. Go watch “The Girl With the Pearl Earring” and you’ll understand why she likes Vermeer. It’s an imaginary drama about Vermeer’s painting. Scarlett Johanssen and Colin Firth . .magic! (chick flick). We’ll argue another day about the virtues of Dutch impressionism . . .watch it . .go on . . .

  4. I went to see that. Not the film, the painting. It’s at the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. It was an absolutely scorching day in August 2003.

    We have a Vermeer in Dublin – a rare possession!

  5. We have it – plus three other Chevalier novels – but they all looked a bit feminine for me! I was traumatised by being made to read Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ when I was 17 (it remains the most boring book I have ever read) and have avoided feminine looking books ever since 😉

  6. Austen drew a perfect picture of a period and class from a gender perspective. The Chevalier portrays longing and desire.

  7. I have a couple of novels to read for our parish book club, maybe I’ll give it a try then.

  8. Austen might be a major writer in the English canon, but she was not the best choice for a seventeen year old boy!

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