Good Morning my friends,
Today is Thursday and in Holy Week it is also known as Maundy Thursday. It isn’t much mentioned anymore as are a lot of the things that were familiar to me when I was growing up.
As important as the days of the Holy Week appear to be, they’re really not. There’s nothing special that happens on these days. The heavens don’t open up. Portals to hell don’t swallow Christ again. The days of Holy Week really aren’t the point. The main focus is the message that the the days have that point to the true focus of the Holy Week which is Jesus Christ.
One of the days of the Holy Week is Maundy Thursday. What is Maundy Thursday and what message does it give to us Christians?
The objective of Maundy Thursday is to recall and reflect upon two important events in Jesus’ earthly ministry- the last Supper with which He had with the disciples and the time Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.
Both occurrences were recorded in the Bible to have happened the night Jesus was betrayed and captured by officials. These two accounts are important ones because of the messages they give us until today.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the last supper is one of the most famous in the world.In case you care about the seating arrangments, which we memorized back in my day, here’s how they were seated:
The thought of the great Leonardo’s great work of art got me to thinking about how much of great art is of religious images.
The images of the Sistine Chapel are of course some of the most famous and most beautiful. These were painted by the incomparable Michelangelo.
Speaking only for myself I find them in totality, overwhelming. I need to see them individually to appreciate what they are and what they say.
Even as a child the part of the fresdco with the Creation of Adam spoke to me in some way I cannot explain. For many of my contemporaries the nudity was the big deal. Not for me. Not that I’m claiming that I didn’t have a dirty little mind just like all kids – just not in this case. Perhaps it was the sheer size and scope of the art that made me look at more than nudity.
Back to the art.
The Adoration of the Magi artist: Hieronymus Bosch (Netherlandish, ’s Hertogenbosch ca. 1450–1516 ’s Hertogenbosch)
I am not the first, although I once thought I was, to see how the artists of the middle-ages clothed the religious images as they themselves were clothed. It was very confusing for me as a child. Now I just enjoy the art.
Christ Surrounded by Musician Angels – Hans Memling (also spelled Memlinc; c. 1430 – 11 August 1494) was a German painter who moved to Flanders and worked in the tradition of Early Netherlandish painting.
The Adoration of the Magi – artist: Diego Velázquez, in full Diego Rodríguez de Silva Velázquez (baptized June 6, 1599, Sevilla, Spain—died Aug. 6, 1660, Madrid), the most important Spanish painter of the 17th century, a giant of Western art.
The Sistine Madonna, also called the Madonna di San Sisto, is an oil painting by the Italian artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – 1520). The altarpiece was commissioned in 1512 by Pope Julius II for the church of San Sisto, Piacenza. The canvas was one of the last Madonnas painted by the artist. Giorgio Vasari called it “a truly rare and extraordinary work”.
Relocated to Dresden from 1754, the well-known painting was particularly influential in Germany. After World War II, it was relocated to Moscow for a decade before being returned to Germany. It is now a master piece of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.
Crucifixion’ by Albrecht Altdorfer (c. 1480 – February 12, 1538) was a German painter, engraver and architect of the Renaissance working in Regensburg.
The Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints is a painting of the Lamentation of Christ by the Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli, dated between 1490-1495. The painting was originally kept in Santa Maria Maggiore, Florence. It is currently housed in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli of Milan. The painting is one of two versions of The Lamentation by Botticelli. The Lamentation over Dead Christ, circa 1492, is currently housed in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
The Denial of Peter is a 1660 painting by Rembrandt, now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (/ˈrɛmbrænt, –brɑːnt/; Dutch: [ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)soːn vɑn ˈrɛin 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. A prolific and versatile master across three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.
Christ Carrying the Cross by Sebastiano del Piombo (Italian: [sebaˈstjaːno del ˈpjombo]; c. 1485 – 21 June 1547) was an Italian painter of the High Renaissance and early Mannerist periods famous as the only major artist of the period to combine the colouring of the Venetian school in which he was trained with the monumental forms of the Roman school. He belongs both to the painting school of his native city, Venice, where he made significant contributions before he left for Rome in 1511, and that of Rome, where he stayed for the rest of his life, and whose style he thoroughly adopted.
There are too many great religious works of art to ever cover them in a day, a week or a month. So I will end as I started, with the magnificent Leonardo Da Vinci and The Madonna of the Carnation.