Recent Reading Raises a Question

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As part of a book group I have recently read Henri Nouwen's Return of the Prodigal Son. Not a book I would recommend to everyone--seems to be very good for the depressives among us. However, the genesis of the book raised an interesting question that I thought I would ask of all:

If you had the leisure to spend a week or two weeks really examining and studying any one artwork, which would you choose and why? More importantly, would you spend a week or two examining just that one work? And what might be the good results of taking such time?

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I think I would choose the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel since there's so much there. It might also have an evangelistic effect.

First, I'd take a week choosing the work.

Are we allowed to consider the entire Vatican a single work of art? If so, that's my choice.

That's a difficult question. With my short attention span, I'd be hard-pressed to study one thing for a week -- no matter how grand a thing it may be.

The suggestion of the Sistine Chapel is a good one, of course. I'd suggest Milan's Duomo as a place I might be able to tarry.

Of course spending a week or more solely in considering a sacred work would have the salutary effect of disciplining (I originally wrote discipling, which works too) the unruly consciousness, unless I got too frustrated at my lack of progress. Any time spent considering the holy is time spent well, though not so well as time spent being holy.

Does it have to be a work of visual or plastic art? If so, it's a poser. I'm torn between Rublev's Trinity and almost anything by Matisse. If music is allowed, then, at the risk of being profane, I'd have to listen over and over to Rush's La Villa Strangiato. I'm sure that would have some sort of interesting effect!

Peace to all.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 27, 2003 7:36 AM.

October Poem-Gray--Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard was the previous entry in this blog.

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