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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sunday Meditation: Fine Art Uplifts the Mind and Heart.

Do you ever just sit and look at a work of classical art and think about what the artist is trying to say? If a picture is worth a thousand words, a work of real art is a magnitude richer! One of the things I love best about The Epoch Times is their Life and Tradition section which generally includes a work of classical art. I always benefit from meditating on what the artist is saying with his work.  

Since I’m usually behind in my reading, today I was studying Sandro Botticelli’s “Calumy of Apelles” (1494) from the January 12th edition. Wow! Most people in the 15th century were illiterate, but they weren’t stupid. Imagine them studying the beautiful paintings in the churches and cathedrals — the stained glass windows, the altar pieces, etc. All these works taught the faith in a way that directly impacted the imagination and filled the memory with truth taught through beauty.

The painting depicts the ancient Greek painter, Apelles who was imprisoned, not for anything he did, but for the calumny of those who hated his success and were jealous. Botticelli shows him being dragged to the mythical King Midas for judgment. That is Botticelli’s artistic interpretation since Apelles was really falsely accused of conspiracy to King Ptolemy I. Choosing King Midas is interesting. Remember that foolish man whose greed led him to turn his own daughter into a statue of gold? 

Study the painting and note all the liars and sycophants trying to influence the fate of Apelles while Truth stands alone on the left pointing her finger toward the heavens where the Way, the Truth, and Life resides. Apelles himself lies surrounded by his enemies, not defending himself, but praying. 

The article by Eric Bess is fascinating and a good place to start. I went from there to reading about the life of Botticelli who’s religious paintings I’ve always loved. His madonnas often grace Christmas cards and his Mary always has a beautiful sweetness. Here are a few I love!

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