Tag Archives: Good Friday

NONE WAS EQUAL TO THE WEIGHT BUT GOD

George Dunlap, April 10,2020. Today, Good Friday, is the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, today we learn that our journey by way of the cross is full of, sorrow, pain, grief, death, and hope with beauty. But we know that on Easter we, with redemption, all can choose life with God.

By St. John Henry Newman Friday, April 10, 2020

He had, my dear brethren, to bear the weight of sin; He had to bear your sins; He had to bear the sins of the whole world. Sin is an easy thing to us; we think little of it; we do not understand how the Creator can think much of it; we cannot bring our imagination to believe that it deserves retribution, and, when even in this world punishments follow upon it, we explain them away or turn our minds from them.

But consider what sin is in itself; it is rebellion against God; it is a traitor’s act who aims at the overthrow and death of His sovereign; it is that, if I may use a strong expression, which, could the Divine Governor of the world cease to be, would be sufficient to bring it about.

*Image: The Crucifixion by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1627 [Art Institute of Chicago]. The canvas was painted for the monastery of San Pablo el Real in Seville, Spain. Zurbarán portrays the Lord “suspended outside of time and place.”

Sin is the mortal enemy of the All-holy, so that He and it cannot be together; and as the All-holy drives it from His presence into the outer darkness, so, if God could be less than God, it is sin that would have power to make Him less. And here observe, my brethren, that when once Almighty Love, by taking flesh, entered this created system, and submitted Himself to its laws, then forthwith this antagonist of good and truth, taking advantage of the opportunity, flew at that flesh which He had taken, and fixed on it, and was its death.

The envy of the Pharisees, the treachery of Judas, and the madness of the people, were but the instrument or the expression of the enmity which sin felt towards Eternal Purity as soon as, in infinite mercy towards men, He put Himself within its reach. Sin could not touch His Divine Majesty; but it could assail Him in that way in which He allowed Himself to be assailed, that is, through the medium of His humanity. And in the issue, in the death of God incarnate, you are but taught, my brethren, what sin is in itself, and what it was which then was falling, in its hour and in its strength, upon His human nature, when He allowed that nature to be so filled with horror and dismay at the very anticipation.

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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.