About this blogger:
Gwyneth Holston is a sacred artist who works to provide and promote good quality Catholic art. Her website is gwynethholston.com.
Connect on Facebook:
Connect on Twitter:
“The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.”
— His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI (11 May 2005)

ABOUT US  |  HEADER  |  ARCHIVE
Feast of St. Cecilia – November 22nd
published 7 November 2013 by Gwyneth Holston

203 St. Cecilia HE SCULPTURE OF Saint Cecilia (figure 1) by Stefano Maderno was commissioned in 1599 when her body was discovered incorrupt. The 23-year old sculptor depicted the position of her body as she was found, showing her fingers extended to represent one God in three persons. It is a haunting figure, particularly because her face is hidden from us. It is appropriate, however, because she is destined to look upon a different world.

202 St. Cecilia I LIKE TO THINK of the painting (figure 2) of St. Cecilia by John William Waterhouse (1895) as representing the moment after her death. She is just about to awake to the music of angels to find herself in a heavenly garden. As we look on, we can see that her every sense will be consoled. The flowers around her provide a delicate fragrance and someone has thoughtfully tucked pillows near her shoulders and feet. St. Cecilia’s rosy complexion affirms that she is not dead, but has merely fallen asleep in the Lord.

The contrast between the austere statue and the sumptuous painting is representative of the difference between the Baroque and Pre-Raphaelite movements. I often feel that Baroque artists emphasized the powerful presence of a supernatural reality whereas the Pre-Raphaelite artists focused on the entrancing loveliness of the supernatural world. Eternal themes can never be exhausted even when they are revisited every hundred years by a new art movement. Like the Cecilia in the midst of her slumber, I believe that today the Catholic Church is about to awaken to a revival in the arts.