reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:24 pm

ctd.


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Pugin might well have not become a particularly strident supporter of any of the movements and forms that the decorative arts took in Britain during the mid-nineteenth century. He might well have voiced a counter-argument against reform, that would have been his prerogative of course, and probably within his nature to be deliberately both antagonistic and contrary in equal measures. However, if the imagery of the motifs of these simplified and clutter free wallpapers were to continue, Pugin may well have found himself alongside Henry Cole and Owen Jones amongst others, perhaps even championing the causes and ideals that called for some form of tempering and plain speaking within the decorative arts world.

Although there is a decidedly thin line between some of the aspects of Pugin's work, the Reform movement, William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement, the line is there and Pugin was an inspiration, at least partially, to a number of designers in the decades following his death in 1852. It is these designers who were to take elements of Pugin, along with other examples and influences, and were able to transform British decoration and pattern work into a truly unique phenomenon that was to influence and mould much of the rest of the Victorian era in both Britain and indeed much further afield.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:13 pm

St.Mary's Catholic Church, Uttoxeter
withSacred Heart, Abbots Bromley


The first stone of the church was laid on the 4th. Oct. 1838 and the building was opened with great solemnity on 22nd. August 1839. The church was the work of Fr. Morgan who obtained many backers amongst them the principal benefactor, John, 16th. Earl of Shrewsbury. The architect was Augustus Welby Pugin who carried out work on Alton Towers and later worked on the Houses of Parliament. The Catholic Church at Cheadle was also his work.

The church has undergone a number of alterations since it's opening. In the late 1870's Pugin's church had become too small for the congregation and it was decided to lengthen it by the addition of a chancel. A Lady Chapel was also added on the left side of the chancel - now the organ chamber - in which stood the confessional: also an upper floor, as marked by the over-arches, was made for worshippers. The three lancet windows were moved to the end of the chancel and stained glass installed. A choir gallery was added beneath the Rose Window, at the west end of the church, in which a new organ was installed. The church re-opened in 1879. The first picture shows the Balance Street elevation prior to 1913 and the second the nave and chancel in the same period.

In 1912 thought was given to enlarging the church again, a task made difficult due to the very narrow building resulting from the 1870's changes. However in 1913 work started on the addition of two side aisles, the narthex, Lady Chapel and sacristy as well as linking up the Presbytery with the Church by a long passage leading to the sacristy. The choir gallery was taken down, the organ removed to the old Lady Chapel and the pulpit was moved from the right hand side of the altar to the left. Recent work carried out in 1998/99 saw the altar rails removed, the chancel steps brought forward a little into the nave and the pulpit replaced in its original position.

Few Catholic churches of comparable size have such a wealth of stained glass as St. Mary's. The Rose Window at the west end of the church dates back to 1839 and is by Messrs. Wailes stained glass workshops. The three lancet windows above the main altar contain glass by Mayer and Co. of Munich and London and were inserted in 1887. In the Lady Chapel are to be found windows by Hardman Studios commemorating the 150th. Anniversary of the church in 1988. The south aisle has windows by Woodroffe erected in the period 1915 to 1938; the War memorial window in the narthex is also his work. In the north aisle is a window by Hardman commemorating the son of a parishioner killed in action in 1940.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:42 pm

St. Kevin's, Harrington Street, Dublin


This set of photographs has some good shots of the newly restored sanctuary of teh church:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnbriody ... 276048783/
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:49 pm

The College Chapel, Maynooth

This set of photographs shows some pictures of the splendid sanctuary of the College Chapel at Maynooth - which, by some miracle, escaped the vandalism almost untouched:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnbriody ... 234804898/
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:18 pm

From the Ecclesiological Society

Conference on Medieval Bridge Chapels

The Ecclesiological Society
Bridge Chapels
Saturday 1 Feburary 2014, Central London

This afternoon conference will explore bridge chapels and other religious buildings associated with bridges in the Middle Ages in Britain.

It will be held on Saturday 1 February 2014, from 14.30 to 17.00, in central London.

The cost of the day is £17.50 for members of the Society, £19.50 for non-members, £15.00 for under- and post-graduate students. This includes refreshments at the interval.

The conference will be Queens's College, 43-49 Harley Street, London, W1G 8BT

You can download details and an application form here (pdf) or here (Word, large file).

SPEAKERS

Chair: Tim Tatton Brown

Speakers:
David Harrison (author of The bridges of Medieval England): Religious buildings and institutions associated with medieval bridges

Peter McKeague (The Bridges of Bedfordshire): A national survey of bridge chapels

Bruce Watson (London Bridge): Medieval bridge chapels: an introduction to their form
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:25 pm

Beauvais Cathedral

Medieval Stained Glass - with a seasonal topic.

The visitation (right) and Nativity of Our Lord


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:29 pm

Beauvais Cathedral

The Annunciation to the Shepherds


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:31 pm

Beauvais Cathedral

The Adoration of the Magi


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:33 pm

Beauvais Cathedral

The Magi before Herod

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:34 pm

Canterbury cathedral

The magi Follow the Star



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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:37 pm

Beauvais Cathedral

The Flight into Egypt


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:39 pm

Beauvais Cathedral

The Massacre of the Holy Innocents

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:40 pm

Chartres Cathedral

The Nativity


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:42 pm

Chartres Cathedral

The Adoration of the Magi


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:43 pm

Chartres Cathedral

The Flight into Egypt


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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:46 pm

Chartres Cathedral

Our Lady and the Christ Child



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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:51 pm

Chartres Cathedral

Our Lady and the Christ Child of the Belle Verrière

(mid 12th century)

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:44 pm

La Vierge de la Belle Verrière


Created in 1140 it was one of the few survivals from the fire of 1194 and one 175 representation of Our Lady in the the Cathedral.

The book held by the Christ child bears the inscription from St. Luke's Gospel referring to the preaching of St John teh Baptist: omnis vallis implebitur and every valley shall be fill in.

This is the interpretative key to reading everything about the Cathedral at Chartres.

In the Liturgy proper to Chartres Cathedral, this antiphon was used psecifically for the Benedictus at the Matins of Saturday in the Embers of Advent (third Saturday in Advent). The full text runs: Omnis vallis implebitur et omnis mons humiliabitur et videbit omnis caro salutare Dei. (Every vally shall be filled in and every hill shall be brought low. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

This particular liturgy was developed by Fulbert of Chartres (c.950-1028) and was designed to offer special homage to Mary as the Mother of God. The Marian emphesis in teh Advent liturgy began on the Wednesday of Ember week whose Gospel is the story of the Annuntiation. The readings of Matins are taken from bede and his commentary on the Annunciation. The accompanying responseries all contain Old Testament prophesies (especially from Isaiah) of the birth of the Messiah. On the Saturday of Ember week, the antiphon texts of Matins focus on the Davidic lineage of Mary. The readings of the Matins was taken from Gregory the Greath's 20th homily on the Redemptoris Praecursor (i.e. John the Baptist). The Gospel of the same day is from St Luke 3.1-6 (John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness). "The combination of the readings from scripture, the commentary of Gregory teh Great, and the chant texts advances the idea of the root of Jesse, that the Christian Messiah, is teh new king and priest, a person who will supplant the old order of both kings and priests. The new king will sit on the thorne of David, and action that demonstartes his lineage and fullfills prophecy...Ths iturgy, first shaped in the Carolingian era, prsented materials adapted later in the eleventh and twelfth centuries through the interpretations of liturgical scholars [real ones] like Fulbert of Chartres and reshaped by men who designed the west facade of Chartres in the twelfth century..... Of special importance to the visual arts in twelfth century Chartres was the antiphon sung at the Benedictus of Lauds on Ember Saturday, "Omnis vallis implebitur". ...Ember Saturday was a solemn festival in the eleventh century, and the antiphon would not have been truncated in any way. This presentation would joing with teh apocryphal gospel related to the Virgin to make Mary the house of David, a tyheme central to the development of her cult at the cathedral of Chartres. - Margot Fassler op. cit.

"In this antiphon text, the act of seeing is emphasized ('and all flesh shall see'), and the Virgin becomes the vehicle of revelation through lending her Davidic flesh back to its creator. This theme became of major importance to liturgy, exegesis, history marking, and the arts at Chartres in the central Middle Ages" - Margot E. Fassler, The Virgin of Chartres: Making History through Liturgy, and the Arts.

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:10 pm

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The Tree of Jesse at Soisson Cathedral showing the descent of Christ from Jesse through KIng David through Our Lady.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:05 pm

From The Spectator:

When soldiers have golden helmets and the wounded have wings
Stanley Spencer infused his war paintings with images of resurrection, as the exhibition Heaven in a Hell of War shows


Laura Gascoigne 14 December 2013

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‘Map Reading’, by Stanley Spencer, at Sandham Memorial Chapel

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War
Somerset House, until 26 January 2014

‘If I go to war, I go on condition I can have Giotto, the Basilica of Assisi book, Fra Angelico in one pocket, and Masaccio, Masolino and Giorgione in the other,’ Stanley Spencer wrote to the artist Henry Lamb in 1914. The sixpenny Gowans & Gray edition of the Masterpieces of Giotto now in a glass case in Somerset House’s exhibition Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War is the one that travelled with him two years later to the Macedonian front, where its imagery fused with his memories of war.

Although the idea of a fresco cycle of war paintings began incubating in Spencer’s mind in Salonika — ‘If I don’t do this on earth,’ he wrote to his sister Florence during a bout of malaria, ‘I’ll do it in Heaven’ — it wasn’t until 1927 that he was able to begin his visionary series of paintings for Sandham Memorial Chapel, 16 of which are temporarily billeted on Somerset House while the National Trust restores the building.

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Washing Lockers by Stanley Spencer on the south wall at Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere, Hampshire

The dream of a chapel of one’s own to decorate was easier to realise in Giotto’s day than Spencer’s, but Spencer got lucky. A pair of extraordinarily generous patrons, John Louis and Mary Behrend, commissioned a cycle of paintings and a purpose-built chapel in their home village of Burghclere, Hampshire. ‘What ho, Giotto!’ was Spencer’s response to the news. His patrons had wanted a secular memorial, but Spencer held out for the full Scrovegni works: a chantry chapel consecrated to All Souls and eventually dedicated to the memory of Mary’s brother Harry Sandham, a casualty of Macedonia. In the five years it took to complete the project, its spiralling costs almost cleaned the Behrends out. When a woman visitor to the chapel made the snide comment: ‘It smells of money here, doesn’t it?’ the artist replied: ‘No, only courage.’

Spencer’s art was never anything but personal, and his war paintings record his own experiences as a medical orderly with the Royal Army Medical Corps, first in Bristol and later in Salonika. Rather than commemorating war they celebrate peace, those rare interludes of it that could be snatched amidst the relentless bustle of army life — the forty winks grabbed on a grassy bank while an officer consults a map and other soldiers raid the bilberry bushes, or the halt at a water fountain around which soldiers flit like angels, rain capes flapping. Only Spencer could turn army regulation mackintoshes into wings and upended water bottles into heavenly trumpets.

At 5ft 2in tall, Spencer escaped transfer to an infantry unit until 1918, but as a medical orderly he picked up the pieces. ‘I had buried so many people and saw so many dead bodies,’ he told a reporter at the start of the project, ‘that I felt that death could not be the end of everything.’ Incapable of looking on the dark side like Nevinson or Nash, he infused his war paintings with images of resurrection, from the morning routine of Reveille to the ultimate miracle of ‘The Resurrection of the Soldiers’ in the chapel’s altarpiece, projected on to the exhibition’s end wall.

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Detail from Bedmaking by Stanley Spencer on the south wall at Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere, Hampshire. This detail shows the bedmaker and the pin-ups above the bed, one of which is Hilda, the artist’s wife. Another is of the artist’s father at the door of Hedsor Church

It was a bitty sort of resurrection for the wounded soldiers patched up at Bristol’s Beaufort War Hospital, the heaven in a hell of antiseptic where Spencer started his RAMC service in 1916. His first impressions of the place were grim — ‘Had someone been around in the morning & dusted them with a duster?’ he wondered about the regimented laurels lining the drive — but in his vision of a ‘Convoy Arriving with the Wounded’ the laurels are banks of flowering rhododendrons and the wounded in their white slings and golden helmets have become a busload of angels with clipped wings. Inside the hospital walls we follow the artist on an endless round of floor-mopping, bed-stripping, laundry-sorting and tea-urn-filling that kept the orderlies busy 15 hours a day, with the odd ‘moment of peace’ where they could find it. Spencer found it, typically, ‘in the most unlikely places’, sneaking into a gap between the baths while his fellow orderlies scrubbed down lockers.

If there’s an opposite of machismo, Spencer embodies it. His war art looks for peace in army routine and homeliness in institutional domesticity. A sponge, a stack of buttered bread, a crumpled page torn from the Balkan News, are rendered in hallucinatory detail: ‘At the most important moments in my life,’ he noted, ‘I generally remember the least important facts.’ These are the details modern novelists record, not modern painters, but he wanted people to ‘read’ his pictures.

Spencer’s forms were significant in the wrong way for Roger Fry, but his paintings remain lucidly legible to us.

The exhibition tours to Pallant House, Chichester from 15 February to June 2014.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 14 December 2013
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:38 am

from First Things (December 2013)

The Catholic Writer Today
Encouraging Catholic writers to renovate and reoccupy their own tradition.


by Dana Gioia, Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California

"Nowhere is Catholicism’s artistic decline more painfully evident than in its newer churches—the graceless architecture, the formulaic painting, the banal sculpture, the ill-conceived and poorly performed music, and the cliché-ridden and shallow homilies. Saddest of all, even the liturgy is as often pedestrian as seraphic. Vatican II’s legitimate impulse to make the Church and its liturgy more modern and accessible was implemented mostly by clergy with no training in the arts. These eager, well-intentioned reformers not only lacked artistic judgment; they also lacked a respectful understanding of art itself, sacred or secular. They saw words, music, images, and architecture as functional entities whose role was mostly intellectual and rational. The problem is that art is not primarily conceptual or rational. Art is holistic and incarnate—simultaneously addressing the intellect, emotions, imagination, physical senses, and memory without dividing them. Two songs may make identical statements in conceptual terms, but one of them pierces your soul with its beauty while the other bores you into catalepsy. In art, good intentions matter not at all. Both the impact and the meaning of art are embodied in the execution. Beauty is either incarnate, or it remains an intangible abstraction.

Whenever the Church has abandoned the notion of beauty, it has lost precisely the power that it hoped to cultivate—its ability to reach souls in the modern world. Is it any wonder that so many artists and intellectuals have fled the Church? Current Catholic worship often ignores the essential connection between truth and beauty, body and soul, at the center of the Catholic worldview. The Church requires that we be faithful, but must we also be deaf, dumb, and blind? I deserve to suffer for my sins, but must so much of that punishment take place in church?"

Full article available here:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013 ... iter-today
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:59 pm

from Apollo Magazine

http://www.apollo-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/MM.2013.01-1024x684.jpg

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 15
APOLLO STAFF

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

The Meadows Museum, Dallas
Saint Paul the Hermit, c. 1715
Juan Alonso Villabrille y Ron (c. 1663–1732)
Polychromed terracotta
61×76.2×47cm approx.
Purchased with funds provided by Jo Ann Geurin Thetford in honour of Dr Luis Martin
This is a virtuoso example of baroque Spanish devotional sculpture, which sought to inspire Christian humility by paying minute attention to the suffering of the saints. Polychrome details such as the hermit’s taut, sunburnt skin and the startlingly convincing skull are closely observed from life, and the artist has even introduced additional props. The woven palm tunic is a unique attribute of Saint Paul the Hermit, who fled religious persecution in Thebes in the 3rd century to live a life of isolation in the desert. Its inclusion prompted researchers to rethink the identity of the figure, which was originally presented to the museum as Saint Jerome, whose iconography is otherwise similar.
Villabrille y Ron was an influential sculptor in the Spanish court at Madrid, but is little known today: few of the fragile terracotta pieces from the time survive, and those that do are often located in situ and seen by a limited audience. This is the first work by the artist to enter a US collection, where it has received significant scholarly attention.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:04 pm

From Apollo Magazine

http://www.apollo-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Nicholas-Poussin-1024x684.jpg

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Extreme Unction, c. 1637–40
Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665)

Oil on canvas, 95.5×121cm
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum, and acquired with additional contributions after a public appeal led by the Art Fund from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Monument Trust, and numerous private donors and charitable organisations
Following a period on display at the National Gallery while funds were raised to secure its acquisition (achieved late last year), this measured masterpiece from Poussin’s first series of the Seven Sacraments is at the centre of an ambitious exhibition initiative at the Fitzwilliam. The painting, commissioned by scholar and patron Cassiano dal Pozzo, depicts a man being administered the last rites. In 1785 it was acquired in Rome with the rest of the series by the Duke of Rutland, and caused a sensation when it was subsequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. Joshua Reynolds judged the works to be Poussin’s greatest, in preference to the later series of 1644–48, on long-term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland from the Duke of Sutherland.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:06 pm

From Apollo magazine

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A Roman Renaissance
PETER CRACK
Rome was a rather desolate place in the early Renaissance. Petrarch lamented in 1367 that ‘almost nothing was left of that old Rome but an outline or an image’. Plagued by disease, civic unrest and the absence of the papacy, the city’s population had plummeted. By 1400 the heady days of the empire were well and truly over.
Antoniazzo Romano (c. 1435­–1508) is perhaps the only Roman artist of the period to have had a lasting impact. ‘Antoniazzo Romano: Pictor Urbis’ at Palazzo Barberini in Rome (until 2 February 2014) attempts to shed new light on this enigmatic artist’s career.
Patronage was paramount to Rome’s rehabilitation. After the Pope’s sojourn in Avignon, Pisa and Florence, the papacy permanently reestablished itself in the ‘Eternal City’ with the election of Pope Martin V in 1417. Successive administrations then set about stopping the rot on the banks of the Tiber, reasserting Rome’s spiritual and cultural supremacy.
The son of an artist, Antoniazzo grew up during this great upheaval. With the Pope back in town, art and architecture flourished. His early career is rooted in medieval Roman traditions. Works such as the Madonna and Child with Saints Francis and Anthony (1467) are proficient, if a little awkward. To Crowe and Cavalcaselle’s 19th-century eyes, Antoniazzo’s efforts were utterly inferior to the perceived developments in Tuscany. However, they are, arguably, Roman. The little we know of Antoniazzo’s life adheres to certain rebellious stereotypes. He was fined for brawling in the streets as a young man and he lived with several other local artists in what would now be considered an artist’s commune.
A jobbing craftsman, Antoniazzo served at the pleasure of the Vatican. Aside from the occasional high profile commission, such as decorating the Vatican Library alongside Melozzo da Forli and Domenico Ghirlandaio, this entailed an abundance of more mundane tasks, such as painting processional banners and designing heraldic devices.
However, this exhibition is more concerned with the inexact science of ‘influence’. Antoniazzo’s maturation is framed here in the context of his interactions with the central Italians who flooded Rome once the money returned. His Saint Jerome (c. 1485) and Deposition (c. 1497) reveal the impact of Perugino and Pinturicchio on his practice. Painted with a typically Umbrian delicacy, the gold ground has been replaced by blue skies and green landscapes.
Predictably, the Florentines also entered the equation. Antoniazzo’s standout masterpiece, an altarpiece painted for the church of Santa Maria del Popolo (1488–89), was painted in the new Tuscan pala style. The saints are serene yet solid, and Antoniazzo’s sparse composition and harmonious proportions rival anything produced by the likes of Benozzo Gozzoli or the Pollaiuolo brothers in Florence.
In the first decades of the 16th century Raphael, Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo were busy defining the High Renaissance in Rome, leaving Antoniazzo in their wake. One of his last major works, the Annunciation (pictured above; 1500), marked the beginning of the artist’s decline. This unusual painting, archaic by the day’s standards, was more typical of painting in Rome before the central Italian invasion.
Antoniazzo’s established workshop and invaluable local knowledge had filled a vacuum during Rome’s early rejuvenation. But like his presumed mentor, Perugino, his dotage was not to prove artistically fruitful. Instead Rome had moved on. However, Antoniazzo’s eclecticism is perhaps what best defines Roman painting in the quattrocento. Fuelled by unprecedented levels of ecclesiastical patronage, waves of travelling artists mingled with ancient and local traditions, creating a cosmopolitan atmosphere where ideas were exchanged, rejected and transformed. Rome was on a course to eclipse all rivals, and although Antoniazzo was left behind, his mark remains on some of Rome’s most prestigious sites.
‘Antoniazzo Romano: Pictor Urbis’ is at the the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica at the Palazzo Barberini until 2 February 2014.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:10 pm

From Apollo Magazine

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A Sentimental Lot
ROBERT O'BYRNE
The Irish, as is well known, are a sentimental people. And nothing brings their sentimentality to the fore so much as the subject of emigration. Yet there is nothing new to this phenomenon: the Irish were ever a nomadic people. In 1816, for example, a parliamentary committee investigating the state of London’s police learnt the parish of St Giles alone contained six thousand Irish migrants. And from that time onwards the departure of native sons and daughters was abundantly marked, through lachrymose pictures like Henry Doyle’s Emigrants Leave Ireland (1868) or ballads such as Percy French’s Mountains of Mourne of 1896.
One might therefore imagine that after centuries of exporting generous quantities of her surplus populace to other countries Ireland was now accustomed to waving the farewell hankie. This is far from being the case: of late The Irish Times, which with its unofficial title of ‘The Paper of Record’ and distinguished history really ought to know better, has been indulging readers with a series entitled Generation Emigration. And a recent contribution on the @ireland twitter account summed up the national mood. ‘I wonder is there many from abroad coming home for Christmas?’ enquired the tweeter. ‘Such a great time of year, but possibly v sad if you can’t get home!’
Ah yes, the sadness of it all, let us not presume to suggest there might be just a smidgeon of self-indulgence in the mix. Just as there was of course none whatsoever apparent in a painting sold last week during an auction held by Adam’s of Dublin.

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The work in question is called The Emigrants’ Last Farewell and was painted by Alfred Grey (1845–1926), a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. Ironically Grey was himself the son of an emigrant, even if his father Charles (likewise an artist) had only moved from the west coast of Scotland to Ireland.
Unable to shrug off his Scottish ancestry Grey junior specialised in paintings of cattle and Highland landscapes, some of which are believed to have attracted the attention of Queen Victoria. Back in Ireland at least one observer was puzzled by his devotion to Caledonian bovines. In Five Years in Ireland 1895–1900 that clever lawyer and anti-clericalist Michael J.F. McCarthy wrote, ‘Mr Grey’s bulls, cows and sheep look plaintively at us in March, April and May every year from the walls of the RHS in Abbey Street. They are capital cattle, on misty braeside or knee-deep in the placid Tolka. I personally know them all, as if they were old friends, quiet, healthy, contented-looking animals. Mr Grey is as keen a cattle artist as Sidney Cooper, I think; but why does he go in for Scotch cattle so much?’
It was perhaps by way of compensation for all that Highland livestock that Grey decided to paint The Emigrant’s Last Farewell. One rather wishes he had not done so. It is a spectacularly bad picture and not just because the artist was determined to squeeze every last drop of mawkishness out of the scene, with the young wife inevitably clutching a baby while attempting to staunch tears, her husband, who sits on a basket carrying the couple’s few possessions, pluckily waving a hat at the rapidly vanishing shoreline.
As if this were not bad enough, the painting also displays all of Grey’s weaknesses as an artist, his inability to achieve foreshortening, his failure to keep the figures’ heads in correct proportion with their bodies, his rudimentary grasp of perspective. Above all, his risible representation of the family dog which looks to have strayed into the picture from a children’s comic. Whatever about his facility in portraying cattle, Grey had trouble with other animals. Not that this hindered bidding at the Adam’s sale. Expected to make €1,000–€1,500, The Emigrant’s Last Farewell sold for €2,000. In Ireland sentimentality trumps aesthetic sensibility.
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
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