My Museum Pilgrimages

I knew I used to be marrying properly when my spouse inspired me to make an inventory of the church buildings and museums I needed to go to on our honeymoon. We deliberate to hit the cities of Vienna and Prague, and it excited me to find the various beautiful baroque church buildings. Neither of us was ready for the affect of visiting locations just like the shrine of the Infant of Prague and Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, together with smaller however historical church buildings and shrines. 

It shouldn’t shock anyone that two newlyweds discovered non secular pleasure within the presence of the Infant of Prague or among the many monks of Brno’s Capuchin Crypt. However, I used to be delighted to search out such pleasure within the galleries and artwork museums. At the Kunsthistoriches (“artwork historical past”) museum, we spent 4 hours in a single nice wing with the good medieval and renaissance works. Indeed, the 2 of us sat and stared at Caravaggio’s Madonna of the Rosary for a stable thirty minutes. We admired Caravaggio’s use of sunshine and his cautious depiction of faces, however there was one thing extra elegant occurring. 

As with a lot of Caravaggio’s work, Madonna of the Rosary feels extra like a movie nonetheless than a portray. Saints Dominic and Peter Martyr are given a blessing from Mary and the Christ Child whereas pilgrims with soiled ft clamor across the Mother and Child. All eyes are on them, apart from a donor portrait, whose eyes are staring straight at you past the body. The eyes of the donor invite us into the scene and remind us that this unknown seventeenth-century man serves the identical Lady and the identical Lord as us. 

I’ve had loads of time to replicate on it and I’m nonetheless confused. In this common, secular museum, two American newlyweds discovered non secular pleasure in a baroque portray of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. More than that, I may see how the Catholic religion united so many individuals, even these as completely different as a seventeenth-century Italian artwork patron and a twenty-first-century Yankee couple.

Marriage has modified my outlook in some ways, however our sudden pilgrimage to an artwork museum continued to encourage many extra little pilgrimages to shrines and museums all around the world. 

A Pilgrimage to an Art Museum?

Along with our deliberate little pilgrimages, I’ve had just a few unintended pilgrimages in museums. I outline these unintended pilgrimages as moments if you had not deliberate on feeling the presence of God or coming to a brand new understanding of your religion, however you probably did. You have been searching for God, maybe unconsciously, however you actually didn’t suppose it might occur in an peculiar place like an artwork museum. 

Stephen F. Auth, a contemporary missionary who as soon as had a profession on Wall Street, discovered himself on an unintended pilgrimage to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While on a guided tour via the Rembrandt assortment, Mr. Auth paused and found one thing a lot larger than what the kindly docent shared. Rembrandt was telling the tales of the Old Testament via the eyes of the good Biblical figures.

That first realization led Mr. Auth to hunt extra details about the artwork within the Met’s assortment and he even curated his personal tour via the museum. And now, his little pilgrimage via the Met is written down for us in his new ebook, Pilgrimage to the Museum: Man’s Search for God Through Art and Time

Pilgrimage to the Museum is a love letter in two methods: First, it’s a love letter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from a lifelong New Yorker. At the identical time, it’s a love letter to the God who conjures up artists all through the ages. Examining artwork from historical Egypt to the expressionists of modernity, with a lot to see within the medieval and renaissance interval, the reader is given a short overview of humanity’s eager for God as seen in visible artwork. With every statue and portray, extra is revealed about God’s plan of salvation and the everlasting teachings of the Catholic Church.

This shouldn’t be a scholarly tome. That stated, it’s nonetheless an informative ebook with a contagious enthusiasm that emanates from the web page as Mr. Auth discovers extra in regards to the works in a beloved museum. The ebook is a stable introduction to the best artistic endeavors. By the time readers find out about Duccio’s Madonna and Child, they’ve discovered the essential historical past of early Christian artwork and may then see the non secular and technical brilliance of Duccio and later Renaissance painters. 

Friends on the Journey

Our journey to God is less complicated once we stroll with our non secular brothers and sisters. And so, Stephen Auth is joined on his pilgrimage by Evelyn, his witty spouse, whereas Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC offers non secular perception. 

It was whereas analyzing some early Byzantine icons of the angels and saints that Fr. Aaron made some extent that will get to the guts of Christian artwork:

“All the individuals we see right here should not simply historic figures. They’re all present-day figures, alive and properly, albeit in a non secular realm, not in a sophisticated one. Christ’s divinity, His everlasting life in Heaven, is shared with all of us who, just like the saints earlier than us, take up our crosses and comply with Him.” 

Although we could also be alone once we begin our pilgrimage, the Spirit guides us on the journey whereas the saints proceed to wish for us at each step. Furthermore, Pilgrimage to the Museum serves as a helpful information for any journeys you may make to an artwork museum. 

Even should you don’t make it to the Met, there are a lot of museums with beautiful Christian artwork all through the world. For instance, New England is house to the Museum of Russian Icons and so many different locations of sacred artwork tucked away in small cities. You may see if one other metropolis has been coated by CE authors beneath the pilgrimage tag. Even in these locations, you’ll profit from studying this ebook and simply see the patterns all through the historical past of Western artwork. 

Image: Shutterstock/Rostislav Ageev



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