Friday, July 13, 2012

A Feast for the Eyes

Upon entering the Cathedral of the Madeleine on the Saturday before the Colloquium, my first impression was: Color! This impression continued throughout the week, and formed an integral whole with the variety and beauty of the tonal palette of the week's sublime liturgies. Of all the liturgical arts that combine to make the Colloquium such a lovely annual respite, it is this aspect of color, relatively scarce in the churches of my own area, which I miss most fondly these days. The stained glass windows and murals, whose Scriptural and hagiographic references are quite easily "read," are certainly the most significant aspect of the painting. And yet it is the lavishness of the non-referential decorations that I find even more attractive, in this as in European churches. Here is a column, let us paint it! And why not?

Beauty, like truth and goodness, quite ably reflects God, Who Is. Beauty shows that God is admirable, and walking into a beautifully appointed church is like walking into a representation of heaven. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand," it says, in the most appealing way.