Thursday, 17 February 2011

Picture it

My trip back to Sarum College wasn't a holiday - I was on a short course entitled "Infancy Narratives of Matthew, Luke and James" which looked at the various accounts of the birth of Jesus and how they have influenced the ways in which classical artists have portrayed the event.

Taking the apocryphal Gospel of James as our starting point on Monday afternoon, we looked at, amongst others, works by Giotto, Ghirlandaio and Gaddi. The Giotto frescoes in particular tell Mary's story and show how Joseph was chosen to be her husband. The image above shows their betrothal after Joseph's rod has burst into flower, signifying that he is the intended groom. To the left you can see a disappointed suitor breaking his rod over his knee in annoyance, whilst another steps forward to slap Joseph across the head - an ancient symbol of ascertaining his virility.

On Tuesday morning we looked at Matthew's Gospel and his genealogy of Jesus, and viewed works by Champaigne, Sasseta and El Greco. In the afternoon we began on Luke, and looked at paintings by Fra Angelico, van Eyck, Tintoretto and Rosetti.

Wednesday morning we should have finished Luke's opening chapters, but our lecturer, Dori Rockefeller, was unwell and unable to be with us, so instead the cathedral Precentor came across and spoke to us on "Liturgy as Art" and caused us to think about the "theatre" of what we do in our worship.

In all it was an entertaining and informative time, and well worth attending. A feast for the mind and eyes. The food at the College was good as well!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Hitting the bottle

The cloisters at Salisbury Cathedral are currently hosting a sound and light exhibition by the artist Bruce Munro. On two sides of the quadrangle the cloister walk is filled with 69 glowing towers made from 15,000 recyclable 2 litre water bottles which are illuminated inside with fibre-optic cables. The colours change to a soundtrack of recorded choral music, and it's quite an experience to wander among these towers in the dark as I did this evening after Choral Evensong.

Inside the cathedal several curtains of tear-drop lights hang from the choir arch at the central crossing, and seen from the west end of the nave, behind the mirror-surface of the font with its ever-flowing four streams of water, it creates a marvellous view.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Night has fallen ...

...and I've just had a pint of Badger's Best Bitter in The New Inn.

Back at 19 The Close ...

... for a short course on Art and the Incarnation narratives of Matthew, Luke and the Gospel of James.

Treading the old familiar corridors of my training ground and surrounded by ghosts .... DN and his gin parties for his anglo-catholic buddies, Pinky & Perky, JC puffing his pipe out of the attic window, TJ fiddling with sliders and volume controls in the basement, Cyril the caretaker, BP who would hear what you were saying but wasn't quite sure what you meant, AG in his cowboy boots, 4Q Florilegium, KY and the BCP, and above all, like a caring house-master, RA.

Friday, 4 February 2011

A gentle whisper ...

King Lear
Act III. Scene II.

Lear speaks:
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!

It's getting rough out there ... nothing like northern Scotland has had to put up with in the last 24 hours with gusts of 130 mph on the top of the Highlands, nor the people of Queensland, but the windows are whistling, the wind roaring in the trees, and lots of dead wood coming down on the roads, and the internet connection crashing every couple of minutes.