Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Art and Beauty Tuesday--Borthwick

The Presence by Alfred Edward Borthwick was painted in St. Mary's Cathedral in Scotland  in 1910 and shows Christ comforting a woman who has stayed behind while everyone else has gone forward for Holy Communion.

There is so much in this painting!

Christ's light shines from both Himself and from the altar.  The painting is dark except for these 2 light sources.  Jesus is the Source of all our Light, in repentance, in prayer, and in the sacraments of the Church .

The woman is dressed all in black, as if in mourning and Christ appears to comfort her in her sorrow.  Perhaps she is mourning the fact that she is not part of the community and can not yet participate fully. Perhaps she has stayed behind because she is conscious of a grave sin. Christ does not ignore her sorrow--He comes to show her His love--he notices her discomfort.

The style of this piece is very like Rembrandt.  He was well known for his ability to show light as if it were coming directly from a subject.

6 comments:

Michele said...

i really, really, like this painting! you are correct, there is alot in this. alot. thanks! :)

Dymphna said...

You're very welcome, Michele!

newguy40 said...

What an interesting painting. Like I said before, I don't know art but I know what I like.

My impression is that beautiful bright light shown at the altar is the True Presence in the Eucharist.
Beautiful!

Dymphna said...

I was thinking that too. Glad you liked it.

Barbara said...

Gee, I love this painting. There is a perfectly lit path from Jesus to the Communion rail. It's as if everyone walking to it was leaving a little deposit of grace behind to light the way for others - a holy path. It also connects Jesus to the sanctuary. Do you suppose that all of us in the state of grace leave a path of light wherever we walk?

Dymphna said...

What a beautiful thing to contemplate, Barbara!

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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