Saturday, May 24, 2008

Westminster Mosaics

According to the Catholic Herald Westminster Cathedral have published a scheme for mosaics for the rest of the Cathedral. Just click here for the plan. Among the scholars involved were , Fr Aidan Nichols, the Dominican, Dr Eamon Duffy, a historian at Cambridge and author of "Stripping of the Altars", and Andrew Wilton, a distinguished art historian and research fellow at Tate Britain.

I was pleased that Dr Duffey said,

"... modern mosaic schemes are often frightful, like something out of Walt Disney."
I suspect he was referring to the latest image of the Holy Family, which seems to be attempt at a sentimentalised family portrait rather than a theological statement.

Pelerin, who drew my attention to this piece, was concerned by the inclusion of pagans. I am not sure I agree with her, I want the Dies Irae at my funeral, precisely because of the refernces to pagans, who prophecy the coming of Christ, or point to the Natural Law, references sadly lacking in post-concilliar liturgy.

Its vast eschatological sweep is emphasised by a pattern of colour that proceeds from green and blue through to red and finally, at the consummation of the world, to gold. Alongside pagans such as Plato, Lucretius and Zoroaster, the design also includes a representation of Buddha.

I think it seems a good scheme, and a tribute to Mgr Mark Langham who recently annonced his retirement as Administrator.


Anonymous said...

Thanks be to God and thanks to Msg Langham for having the foresight to consult such a brilliant list of people on the matter. I'm only sorry he could not stay for the implementation.

I love the scheme. The layout itself is a progression from darkness to light. Well done to the minds behind it.

bernadette said...

Fr, does anyone know when they are likely to be completed, so that we go and look at them in the flesh, I mean in the clay.

Volpius Leonius said...

But did these particular pagans prophecy the coming of Christ Father? I can understand the sibyls etc but Buddha? What he preached is the opposite of the bible message from what I have read.

Anonymous said...

now we just need to find £12 million to implement the mosaics, and thats on top of the existing appeal for ?£5 milion for crucial maintainance.

i'm sure it will happen one day but, at the moment, it feels like it could be a long way off unfortunately.

The Perpetual Malcontent said...

Regarding the Buddha preaching Christ:

Volpius Leonius said...

That is rather fanciful imo tpm.

PeterHWright said...

I can see the point of the pagan philosophers from the pre-Christian era, Plato, Aristotle, et al., but they were not the founders of a religion. Therefore, I honestly can't see how Buddha fits into this category, and not in a Catholic church !

Fr Ray Blake said...

Dr Wright,
I suspect that Buddha is there because of the influence of Buddhist monks in Alexandria. There is evidence of their presence from the time of Philo. It seems likely they were very influential on the Alexandrian "School" which touched the Church in so many areas, such ascetiscism, monasticism and the whole "via negativa" tradition.

PeterHWright said...

Thanks, Father.
Here is food for thought indeed. I know Clement of Alexandria in "the Stromata" mentions the influence of barbarian (I think he means "non-Greek") philosophers on Greek thought. But neither Cyril of Jerusalem or Hippolytus seemed to have say anything very kind to say about them.

Further reading is indicated, I think !

Roses and Jessamine said...

The Gregorian Chant Dies Irae is beautiful.

But Mozart's version gets my blood stirring in that dramatic apocalyptic way.

Both remind me to be ready to meet my Maker.

Anonymous said...

the answer to the fund raseing is every chathoic church pays 1000 pounds all the parishs conbined money would easey give the 12 mill needed so get the cardinal to organis it ...ok

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