Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Face of Suffering

I am often fascinated by photographs, especially old ones. These are two of the most interesting I have recently seen. One is of the future Pope John Paul II and the other of Pope Benedict XVI. Reminds me of contemporary photographs of the Carmelite nun St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. They are intense. Remarkable more for the pictures of the two boys. But at that time, everyone, particularly children, grew up fast and knew suffering at a young age. Pope John Paul under the oppressive heal of Hitler in Poland and Pope Benedict back in the Fuhrer’s heartland. Both came from fairly comfortable middle-class backgrounds, but they still knew death up-close. Pope John Paul was conscripted to harsh labor details, and Pope Benedict's down-syndrome cousin was executed. How different our youth of today appear: non-nonchalant, constantly giddy, brain-dead. But has everything changed: are we no longer in the midst of suffering? Or have we chosen just to ignore it as the smell of a death-camp and the nice clean appearance of an abortion clinic do not equate in our minds.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art and Beauty

I recently discovered a great contemporary religious artist by the name of Joseph F. Brickey. I have not seen such exquisitely beautiful works since the great neo-classical artists of the 19th Century: i.e Bouguereau, Ingres, and Alma-Tadema. His technique is unequaled in today's art field. This is certainly due to innate talent, but also shows many years of intense training. His art would be labeled as sentimental by many, but I find it an extraordinary throwback to the great European academic painters who believed that art and beauty were the ideal. Brickley also is a return to the artist-craftsman that breaks the modern bohemian stereotype of the artist as libertine. Brickley is a member of the LDS Church and many of his works reflect that, but everything listed under the Biblical Subjects section of his web-site is awesome.

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