Holy Week Art

Please don’t think because I am not blogging about the Notre Dame fire, it wasn’t on the short list for today’s post. I want to write about that very, very soon. But it is Holy Wednesday, after all, and (French people, don’t hate me!) Resurrection still trumps disastrous fire. I think Notre Dame would agree.

Holy Wednesday (also called Spy Wednesday, which is what FBI agents call every Wednesday, so I’m sticking with Holy Wednesday) is the day Jesus went to Simon the Leper’s house and Mary Magdalene poured that super pricey oil on his feet, while Martha tidied up (it would be hard not to worry about dust bunnies when the Savior of the world is sitting in your living room, right?!) Of all the anointing pictures I found, this is my favorite.

I’m not sure who the artist is. I found it on James Woodward’s website, but it’s unclear if he’s the artist. If you know, tell me! Isn’t it lovely? Mary’s anguish is practically tangible. And Jesus, as always, is acting as Comforter even though we all know He’s the one deserving of comfort here. It’s just so Jesus. And that hand! It communicates strength, protection, and love, rather than fear, nerves, and judgement. There’s a lot of feeling portrayed in that hand.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also take this opportunity to post my favorite painting of all time: The Last Supper. I don’t care if that is cliché. My second favorite is Mona Lisa (just kidding.) There is just SO MUCH SYMBOLISM in The Last Supper! I eat it right up. Ha. A little Maundy Thursday humor for you. Truly, I could read interpretations of this painting all day. Da Vinci really brought his A-game with this one. Though he picked a heck of a project to start experimenting with tempera and oil. Epic fail.

My favorite part of this painting is… well, Jesus. He’s always my favorite. But my second favorite is Thomas. He’s often depicted in paintings as pointing or waving his index finger around. That’s a nod to when Jesus returns and Thomas insisted on putting his finger in Jesus’ wounds. Isn’t that brilliant? There’s much conversation about whether Leonardo meant to portray Jesus with a natural sort of halo from the daylight, or that’s just conincidence. I think it was intentional, because it was just the style to do so in the Renaissance, introduced by none other than our man, Da Vinci. What do you think?

I hope you all have a blessed week of reverence. I hope you get to hear a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace.” I hope your church is jam packed and that you cry tears of joy throughout the service. I hope you eat good food with people you love. That you don’t stress about the dust bunnies! That you delight in little girls and boys in their Easter outfits. And most of all, that your Easter Sunday is lovely, meaningful, and sacred.

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