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Gwyneth Holston is a sacred artist who works to provide and promote good quality Catholic art. Her website is gwynethholston.com.
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“I should not like to be too harsh on this commission’s labors. It numbered a certain number of genuine scholars and more than one experienced and judicious pastor. Under different circumstances, they might have accomplished excellent work. Unfortunately, on the one hand, a deadly error in judgment placed the official leadership of this committee in the hands of a man who—though generous and brave—was not very knowledgeable: Cardinal Larcaro. He was utterly incapable of resisting the maneuvers of the mealy-mouthed scoundrel that the Neapolitan Vincentian, Annibale, a man as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty, soon revealed himself to be.”
— Fr. Bouyer, a liturgical expert appointed by Pope Paul VI

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Enough is Enough!
published 2 December 2013 by Gwyneth Holston

GWYN_Ingres HE FRENCH Neoclassical painter, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, was so sensitive to ugliness that his wife would throw her shawl over his eyes to protect him from seeing a particularly hideous beggar or cripple in the streets. Although I find this unmanly and furthermore un-Christian, I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind if someone threw a shawl over my eyes to protect me from much of the artwork sold in the average Catholic bookstore.

Not only are the devotional images sold poor quality reproductions, they are usually so saccharine or stale as to be utterly intolerable. Most of the images of Jesus depict him as feminine or cartoony or as a surfer. The statues are even worse: cross-eyed, air-brushed, plastic, garish… why? I don’t blame the people running these bookstores; I blame it on a lack of demand. We must remember the true value of sublime art and create a market for it.

GWYN_Precious Moments Nativity Art is a sacramental! Beautiful sacred art has the power to send our thoughts soaring heavenward and to assist us during prayer. If you must get a reproduction, make sure that the original piece of art is superb: Caravaggio, Murillo, Raphael, etc. However, just as the radio is drastically inferior to live music, printed images are drastically inferior to original art. What happens when a painting is photographed and printed? So many things are lost: color, texture, detail, and (often) size. It is basically flattened.

GWYN_Madonna of the Crown by Ingres Akin to the sentiments of John Senior in his book The Restoration of Christian Culture, I believe that seeking out authentic, quality experiences is the way to win the culture war. It is more satisfying to sit in front of a fire than to sit in front of an electric heater. It is more satisfying to visit a friend in person than to chat with him online. And it is definitely more satisfying to hang a framed piece of original art on your wall than to settle for a bad reproduction.

Let us sooth our frazzled nerves by taking a moment to enjoy the little-known painting, “Virgin with the Crown” by Ingres.