Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Altarpiece

Daniel Mitsui at The Lion and the Cardinal posts this wonderful altarpiece, called the Mill Altar:


Click to enlarge


"The Four Evangelists stand at the centre of the altarpiece and are pouring the contents of four great bags into a grinder. From the left to right: Mark (with the lion's head), Matthew (in angel form), John (eagle's head) and Luke (bull's head). They are grinding quotes from the Gospels (on the white strips) that refer to man's creation from the Word -- 'In the beginning was the Word.' Symbolically, the apostles' words undergo a transformation -- the four strips become one, and this one strip joins with the figure of the Christ Child in a chalice. the mill, normally used for the manufacture of food, points to the scene's meaning: through the grinding stone the Word becomes flesh, from the grinding stone comes the food of life, and in the grinding stone Christ is sacrificed." -- Edward Norman, The Roman Catholic Church: An Illustrated History

I love that sort of condensing of vision, that ordered conflation; it's something only art does.

17 comments:

owen swain said...

I'd lost track of that blog. I am glad to have rediscovered it. Thanks.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Only art, yes, and possibly only medieval art.

A few weeks ago, I learned that the medieval symbol for Temperance was a woman mixing water with wine. How about that?

Daniel Mitsui's blog is a treasure.

owen swain said...

" possibly only medieval art" hopefully note or my own art is out. But yes, medieval art is the bomb.

Paul Stilwell said...

It's the bomb.

owen swain said...

ooopz...

above, I meant to type "hopefully not" not "hopefully note"

Paul Stilwell said...

It's bodacious.

Michelangelo's David is a prime example of that "sort of condensing of vision, that ordered conflation".

Also his Battle of the Minotaurs.

Tons of examples within and without the Medieval.

Paul Stilwell said...

I prefer "hopefully note".

owen swain said...

yeah, except that "hopefully" negates my art, and yours and leaves us with only the bomb medieval as possibly the only art that is any good. Medieval is the bomb but perhaps not exclusively THE BOMB. Poor Arvo is post medieval for instance.

Paul Stilwell said...

We're all doomed.

owen swain said...

I don't understand.

Thanks be to God.

Paul Stilwell said...

You don't understand my comments?

I'm joking around. I'm on your side here.

Since we're all "post-medievel", we're all doomed according to the belief that only the Medievel makes for the "sort of condensing of vision, that ordered conflation".

owen swain said...

"hopefully" the peace that passes understanding passes mine

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I certainly didn't mean to denigrate modern artists! =) There must be more tactful ways to say that medieval art is Da Bomb (Yes, Stilwell, that's how you spell it. =P) without throwing all modern art under the bus.

owen swain said...

We're more refined in Canada, or at least part and we spell "Da" "the" unless we mean Father Bomb and then we hearken back to Gaelic/Celtic roots.

I took no offence and was joshing from the git go (and or the get go) but was taken seriously (re "not" and re "hopeful") and even when I continued to josh and well, Paul is right, "We're all doomed."

It's Da Doom.

Paul Stilwell said...

I was going to say da bomb. Really, I was.

Belfry Bat said...

Speaking properly (as I was taught recently by a good friend) we are still in the Middle Ages (of Middle Earth, as it were) falling between the Revelation of our Redemption and His return in glory. If any work of art now is good, then it is good Medieval art.

Seriously, doesn't calling now "medieval" make more sense than calling it "modern"? Back in MCCC they really were forward-looking.

Paul Stilwell said...

Hear! hear!