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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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“The scholar who lives only for his subject is but the fragment of a man; he lives in a shadow-world, mistaking means for ends.”
— Msgr. Ronald Knox (1888-1957)

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The Greatest Catholic Painter You've Never Heard Of
published 9 December 2013 by Gwyneth Holston

GWYN_Coronation of the Virgin Detail T THE MOMENT, I find that I am in love with the painter Enguerrand Quarton (c. 1410 – c. 1466). He was French and painted in a style that is composed of a bizarre combination of French, Netherlandish, and Byzantine influences. Two of his surviving masterpieces are The Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon (figure 1) and The Coronation of the Virgin (figure 2).

Click on the images to see them in greater detail.

GWYN_Pieta Just look at the exquisite quality of line in The Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. I can’t get over how every element is designed to have a beautiful silhouette; even the fingers of St. John are fascinating. The underlying structure of this painting consists of a series of lines that slope downwards from left to right: Christ’s arm, Christ’s legs, Mary’s head, Mary Magdalene’s body. It is as if every line is a wave grief lapping at the foot of the cross. Like a Byzantine icon, the background is gold. Like a Flemish masterpiece, the figures are rendered with startling detail.

GWYN_Coronation of the Virgin Not only does Quarton have an captivating sense of rhythm and beauty, his color is also stunning. Look at his painting, The Coronation of the Virgin. The earth below contains the cities of Rome and Jerusalem. At the very bottom are souls in Purgatory and Hell. The Holy Trinity place a crown on Mary’s head as choirs of angels and saints look on. Although Mary is depicted in a somewhat stylized manner, the effect of her presence is overpowering due to the flaming seraphim and cherubim that surround her. She who humbled herself hath been exalted.