Category Archives: Christian Art

As Winds That Blow Against A Star – Joyce Kilmer

George Dunlap April, 24, 2019

Poetry as an art form seems to be lost in the mire …compared to the great painters, poetry is a beautiful art form. I enjoy reading poetry when my mind is troubled and in disarray. Joyce Kilmer is a new favorite of mine.

Joyce Kilmer, is one of Sam Guzman’s favorite catholic poets, and is one of America’s own Catholic poets. He is the American Chesterton or Belloc.

As Winds That Blow Against A Star

Now by what whim of wanton chance
Do radiant eyes know sombre days?
And feet that shod in light should dance
Walk weary and laborious ways?

But rays from Heaven, white and whole,
May penetrate the gloom of earth;
And tears but nourish, in your soul,
The glory of celestial mirth.

HS_KilmerAJ1918_01

The darts of toil and sorrow, sent
Against your peaceful beauty, are
As foolish and as impotent
As winds that blow against a star.

Joyce Kilmer

When most of us think of the Catholic literary giants of the last century, we think of Englishmen like J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, or Hilaire Belloc. But the Englishmen were not the only great men of letters— an American, Joyce Kilmer, should be included among them.

Kilmer was a soldier, essayist, prolific poet, and literary critic, and while he is largely forgotten today, he was considered one of the greatest literary figures of his time. Interestingly, like many other great Catholic literary giants, Joyce Kilmer was a convert to Catholicism. He is largely remembered for his poem Trees, and many of his poems deal with his faith or with the beauty of nature. He died in 1918.

Christ Crucified – Velázquez

George Dunlap, Good Friday, April 19, 2019

I am starting a post on Christian classical art; in beauty we have hope in Christ. I trust you will enjoy some of my selections and the history of the paintings and artists. Wishing you and your family a Blessed Easter.

The Spanish Golden Age stands as one of the richest and most bountiful eras in history for art, and amongst all of the artists who contributed to it, Diego Velazquez will surely rank as being amongst the most prominent.

Born in 1599, Velázquez was one of the court artists of King Philip IV and crafted a wide range of masterpieces throughout his career. Many of his paintings were portraits of sixteenth-century Spanish nobility, and thanks to him, we have an array of brilliant snapshots into what courtly life of this era looked like. To glance at one of Diego Velazquez’s paintings is to be transported into a bygone age.

Not all of Velazquez’s paintings depicted contemporary scenes. Like most Western artists of his era, Velazquez had plenty of experience in portraying religious subjects. A number of his canvases depicted scenes of beatification, attempts to portray the divine in all of its sumptuousness.

With “Christ Crucified“, however, Velazquez took the opposite approach. The painting is pared-down and understated. There is no background, merely a dark area with a few token shadows to help emphasise the central figure. The cross itself is plain and unadorned, the delicate details – such as the grain in the wood – serving only to emphasise the everyday nature of its materials.

Christ himself is similarly unadorned. Velazquez makes no attempt to portray the agonises of Christ’s passion, and simply shows the Messiah’s head bowed. His hair runs, like blood, down his face.

The only hint of the divine about this largely unclothed figure is the halo – and even that is relatively modest, a subtle cream-coloured glow. We are asked to look upon this figure – to behold the man – and contemplate his very physicality – his flesh, his hair, the thorns of his crown, the cloth of his coverings, the iron of his nails. The image is composed with geometric evenness and neatness, an understated structure which provides a startling contrast with the significance of the subject matter.