|Photo taken at the Tate Britain, London|
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
|John Everett Millais, The Prodigal Son (1864)|
Saturday, July 19, 2014
|John Everett Millais, The Good Samaritan|
In this initial post I will cover a bit of Millais's life and art. In the next post, I will discuss how the prints on the parables were created. Then in later posts I will discuss the prints themselves--a couple in detail and a few very briefly. Here goes:
- Have genuine ideas to express.
- Study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them.
- Sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote.
- And, most indispensable of all: Produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.
I won't discuss the painting in details, but note the wound on Jesus' hand, the blood on his foot, John the Baptist bringing water, the dove, the symbolic "sheep," and so forth:
|John Everett Millais, Christ in the House of His Parents|
By 1853, however, the PRM was virtually dissolved, and Millais experimented with other modes of artistic expression. In the 1850s, he moved from the brilliantly-colored and minutely-detailed works in the PRM style to a broader, more loose, and more fluent style of painting, In the 1850s. As noted above, Millais became the most popular artist of his day, although some critics would claim that he sacrificed artistic authenticity for fame and fortune (including Ruskin); he himself noted that with a family to support, he could no longer afford to work in a way that brought him little income. His subjects, then, became more sentimental and told a “good story” that would appeal to the broader public, such as charming portraits of children and scenes of family life and book illustrations (Chilvers 2004: 468; Rosenfeld and Smith 2008: 50).
I can do ordinary illustrations as quickly as most men, but these designs can scarcely be regarded in this same light—each Parable I illustrate perhaps a dozen times before I fix, and the hidden Treasure I have altered upon the wood at least six times (Rosenfeld and Smith 2007: 95).
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
|John Everett Millais, The Hidden Treasure|
On my trip to England last month, I scheduled an appointment in the Prints and Drawing Room at Tate Britain in London for a private viewing of twelve prints from John Everett Millais on the parables. I am grateful to Christine Kurpiel who retrieved and set up the prints for me. These twelve prints are for a book Millais illustrated for the Dalziel brothers, and previously on this blog I included three postings from a student paper on two of the prints. Over the next two weeks, I will talk about the prints some more and include discussions of several more of them. I am including a section in the book on Millais's works, and I am focusing particularly on the parable of the Unjust Judge, a print that is exceedingly striking (H/T to Chris Rowland).
But first, a personal word:
Today is our wedding anniversary, and although the following is not connected to the parables, I want to post the last paragraph of the Preface in my recent book, James Through the Centuries. The part connected to our anniversary is in the very last sentence:
This volume is dedicated to the memory of two of the most wonderful human beings I have ever known: Aurelia Stookey and Mitchell Stookey. They, more than anyone I know, were “doers of the word,” spending much of their time either actively working for the well-being of others or thinking about what actions they could take to promote the well-being of others. Aurelia and Mitchell Stookey epitomized the wisdom (from above) and understanding mentioned in James 3:13, and their good lives were filled with good works done in “gentleness born of wisdom.” They were also exceedingly gracious, loving, and kind, and they welcomed me into their family with open arms. They, justifiably, were incredibly proud of their children—Donald, Charlyn, Patricia, Mary Jane, Jerry, Tom, Joe, and Rita—their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren (too numerous to mention here). I am grateful for the years that I was able to be with them and to learn from them, and I am proud to be a member of their wonderful family. Most of all, I am thankful for their eighth child, the greatest gift I have ever received.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,That saved a wretch like me.I once was lost but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.
I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.
Ely Cathedral definitely is one of the cathedrals in England that should be on any tour of churches/ cathedrals in England. The cathedrals/churches/abbeys in London are the most famous (Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, Southwark [famous starting point for pilgrims to Canterbury], Westminster Cathedral), but there are many cathedrals/churches outside of London that are well worth visits: Salisbury, York Minster, Canterbury, Durham, Chichester, Ely, and others (and don't miss King's College Chapel in Cambridge). I have not yet visited others that I have heard great things about: Gloucester, Winchester, Lincoln, Exeter, etc.
Here are some thoughts about one more stained-glass window in Ely Cathedral that portrays New Testament parables.
This window depicts three parables, and it appears in the South aisle of the Choir and Nave (picture above). It is the first window by Bishop West's Chapel in the Southeast corner of the cathedral. This window was created by Clayton and Bell in memory of Ashley Sparke, "who was killed in the celebrated cavalry charge at Balaclava in 1854 (Ely Cathedral Handbook 1904: 183).
Below is a close-up of the two parables found at the bottom of the window. The story of each parable is found in four scenes from left to right. I will discuss the window below the photo:
The four scenes at the bottom of the window represent (as in another window discussed in the previous post) the parable of the Wheat at the Tares (Matt 13:24-30). Working from left to right at the bottom: (1) the "good seed" (wheat) is sown in the field (13:24); (2) the slaves discuss with the master what to do (13:27-28); (3 & 4); the master gives his orders about what to do, and the eventual harvest is shown as well.
The middle set of four images portray the parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30). Once again, the story is told from left to right: (1) the three slaves receive their talents (Matt 25:14-15); (2) when the master returns, the three slaves have to give their accounting--on the right you can see the slave who dug a hole and buried the master's money (25:19); (3) we see the master commending one of the first two slaves (probably the second), while the third slave waits on the left (25:20-23); (4) the master condemns the third "wicked and lazy" slave to "the outer darkness" (25:24-30).
Here is a photo of the middle section and the top section, which I will discuss below the photo:
The four scenes at the top of the window seem to me to be a different parable than some of the labels I have seen published elsewhere. It obviously tells the story in the parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12; Matt 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19; Thomas 65-66). I will cite the Matthean version: (1) the landowner planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, and built a tower the tower (21:33); (2) he then leased it out to tenants when he went to another country (21:34); (3) when the harvest was ready he sent slaves to collect "his" produce, but the tenants beat one, killed another, and stoned another (this is repeated in verse 36). In the window, we can see one being beaten with a stick, the second being killed with an axe, and the third one already appears to be dead from stoning (21:35-36); (4) The landowner then sends his son, but the tenants "seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him." In the window, the son is tied to a tree, and he is being attacked by two men, one with a knife and the other with an axe (21:37-39).
Conclusion: There are some other windows in the cathedral that portray some parables, but I will stop here. I will leave you instead with a photo of another window. Try to see if you can guess which Hebrew Bible story it represents:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Here is a look at the entirety of the first window (this is the best picture my iPhone would take). This window is in memory of Eliza Fardell (d. 1861), the wife of Canon H. Fardell. The window illustrates three parables and one miracle (the two windows previous to this one illustrate several miracles):
The photo below shows the two stories on the left side of the window. The left side portrays the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. The story starts from the bottom and shows the seeds being sown. The man in the background looks at the viewers as if to invite them into the story. The next scene up shows the deliberation over what to do with the tares, and it is decided that the separation should wait until the harvest. The harvest (i.e., the Last Judgment) is then portrayed in the top scene.
The parable of the Workers of the Vineyard is portrayed next, with the man hiring two workers in the first scene (at the bottom). The workers are then shown working at their tasks (e.g., digging), and the final scene at the top shows the owner of the vineyard explaining that it is his decision what to pay each worker:
The other side of the window starts with the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15. The first shows the shepherd taking care of the sheep, and the second shows him finding the one lost sheep. The third and final scene shows him carrying the sheep back (in the classic Greco-Roman image of the ram bearer (Greek kriophoros; κριοφόρος; see my posts on "The Good Shepherd in Early Christian Art" from January 2014). Other people are included in this scene to demonstrate that a celebration over the recovery of the lost sheep is about to begin.
The right side of the window shows the miracle of the miraculous draught of fish (most likely the Lukan version of the story). Peter throws out the net; they pull the net in; the huge catch of fish is shown:
The story of the Ten Virgins begins at the bottom left: (1) The bridegroom is delayed, and all of the maidens are sleeping until they are awakened with the announcement that the bridegroom has arrived (Matt 25:5-6). (2) The maidens rose and trimmed their lamps (Matt 25:7). (3) at the bottom right, the foolish ones realize that they don't have enough oil and ask the wise for some (Matt 25:8). (4) at the middle right, the foolish ones go to buy more oil for their lamps (Matt 25:10). (5) at the top left, the bridegroom (Jesus) comes and the wise ones went with him into the feast, and the door was shut behind them (Matt. 25:10). (6) at the top right, the foolish ones are outside the door of the wedding feast (Matt 25:11-12):
The following photo shows acts described in the parable of the Sheep and Goats. I will start at the bottom left and work my way up from left to right: (1) I was hungry, and you gave me food (Matt 25:35). (2) bottom right: I was thirsty and you gave me drink. (3) I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35). (4) middle right: I was naked and you clothed me (Matt 25:36).
(5) I was sick and you visited me (Matt 25:36). (6) top right: I was in prison and you came to me (Matt 25:36):
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