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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scared Art Can Speak to the Heart

A few years ago while visiting our son in Tampa, FL., he offered to take us to the Ringling Museum in Saratoga, Fl.. A fascinating museum about the history of the circus and the; "behind the scenes" workings of how one gets a circus from town to town. The museum is mostly about the "worlds largest circus".... Ringlings and Barnum Bailey Circus.
Before TV and the radio, the circus was what every town in America looked forward to. The circus came to entertain a town for a day, or several weeks. It was a BIG money maker and can be compared to what Hollywood and the movies are to us today, when it comes to BIG money, the circus many moons ago was the entertainment industry on the rails traveling from town to town.
The museum is located on the bay in Saratoga and also was the home and property (many acres) to John and Mable Ringling. We toured the Circus museum and the beautiful mansion in which the Ringlings lived in, which was over looking the waters of the bay. We really recommend you visit this museum, if you are ever in Florida.
Toward the end of tour (long day) we finally arrived at the, John and Mable Art Museum. Wow! We learned Mr. Ringling was a Big collector of art.
The museum's art collection currently consists of more than 10,000 objects that include a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world. The most celebrated items in the museum are 16th-20th-century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings. Other famous artists represented include Benjamin West, Marcel Duchamp, Diego Velázquez, Paolo Veronese, Rosa Bonheur, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Giuliano Finelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Frans Hals, Nicolas Poussin, Joseph Wright of Derby, Thomas Gainsborough, Eugène Boudin, and Benedetto Pagni. A big treasure chest many folks, including us never knew was there.
One of my favorite things I discovered in the Art Museum was the works of Peter Paul Ruben (1577-1640) 
John Ringling purchased in 1926, some of Ruben's works, from the collection of the Duke of Westminster at Grosvenor House, London the great works of a prestigious series, painted on huge tapestries, called: "The Triumph of the Eucharist." This is the only original paintings outside of Europe of Rubens.
My favorite three of the series were: The Defenders of the Eucharist, The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek .... and The Gathering of the Manna. Looking at these beautiful pieces of art...what do you think the artist is trying to show us? Who is in the painting and what do you think inspire Ruben to paint them? Can we learn a precious mystery from above ...that points us to the Truth of God in his art-work called; The Triumph of the Eucharist, The Gathering of Manna, The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek? 
To be honest with you, these pieces of art were the finally icing on the cake that spoke to my  that I was ready to follow my Lord into the Catholic faith. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but my Lord knew what He was doing, even when I did not understand..
Just think.. a painter who lived 450 years ago planted seeds in my ... ️Wonder if he knew his works would have an impact on someone's life who lives in the 21st century?
Shows me how sometimes in this life our works can have eternal blessings for future generations, even if we have doubts. It doesn't have to be big like Ruben's works... It can be as small as living your life everyday for Christ in the small ways.. and being the mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, wife or husband that plants Christ seeds......so your kids, loved ones, strangers, friends and family see Christ seeds. It's up to he Holy Spirit to water them and grow them.. We have a choice in what we "paint" in this life.. What painting do you want to leave your children and the ones you love after you are gone? Something to ponder.. 
Want to know about the Ringling Museum click:

Painting Below
The Book of Genesis in the Old Testament recounts the story of the patriarch Abraham meeting with the king and priest Melchizedek. In a battle between some kings of the day, Abraham's nephew Lot had been captured by the victors and taken away captive. When Abraham heard what had happened he raised an army, pursued the captors of Lot and rescued him along with rich treasure. Upon returning home Abraham was welcomed by the Melchizedek who blessed him and gave bread and wine to the victorious army. Abraham in return gave a gift of a tithe (10%) of his booty to Melchizedek. This was seen as recognition of Melchizedek's position as a priest of the God of Israel.
Rubens’s 17th century tapestry is a representational portrayal from the Old Testament foreshadowing the coming of Christ and the bread that comes from heaven..the Eucharist.


Painting Below.....This painting depicts the story told in the Old Testament ( Exodus 16: 14-35) of the Israelites receiving food from heaven as they wandered in the desert. God spoke to Moses and promised that he would send bread to the starving Israelites. One morning, manna - small round loaves of bread - dropped from heaven and the Israelites were saved from starvation. They continued to be supplied with manna from heaven for the next forty years until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan. God is still feeding His children with the manna from heaven... called the Eucharist...

Painting to the Above

This painting shows seven saints, all of whom were considered to be defenders of the doctrine of Transubstantiation an integral tenet of the Catholic Church. From the right the figures represent - (1) St. Jerome, noted for his translation of the bible from Hebrew into Latin; (2) St. Norbert, a German archbishop and saint, who preached against dissenters who attacked the Christian sacraments and official clergy; (3) Thomas Aquinas, a medieval theologian of the Dominican order, who is a Doctor of the Church. (4) Ste. Clare, the founder of the Poor Clares, was a Franciscan heroine who repulsed the Saracens at Assisi by confronting them holding the Host in her hands; (5) Gregory the Great, who established, as Pope, the form of the Roman liturgy; (6) St.Ambrose, renowned as both theologian and statesman of the Church, who in an age of controversy, was instrumental in crushing Arianism, a doctrine concerning the relationship of God the Father to Christ which was considered heresy and in direct opposition to orthodox teaching about the Trinity; and (7) St Augustine, perhaps the Church's most celebrated and influential theologian.
Seven Saints, including the four Latin Doctors of the Church, progress with great dignity from right to left, their heads seen in different views in a fashion similar to the heads of the Four Evangelists. The Dove of the Holy Ghost hovers protectively over the saints in the very center of the composition emitting golden light that illuminates the procession. Above the dove, a putto holds two trumpets to herald the message of the Church Fathers.
Leading the procession are Sts. Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory the Great, all wearing elaborate gold copes. The first two are crowned with boishop's mitres, while the third wears the papal tiara. In the center of the procession, St. Clare carries a monstrance and looks directly out at the viewer. Rubens has shown his patroness, the Archduchess Isabella as St. Clare garbed in the black and white habit of the Discalced Carmalites, clothes she wore at the Convent of the Discalzas Reales in Madrid when she was a girl and later as a widow after her husband the Archduke Albert had died in 1621.
St. Thomas Aquinas follows, a large book under his arm wearing a gold chain from which is hung a blazing sun. Behind Aquinas is a monk in a white habit who is probably St. Norbert. Last in line is St. Jerome the fourth Doctor of the Church dressed in red as a cardinal, intensely reading from a large book. In the center of the bottom of the composition, below the apron of the "stage" is a burning lamp (the lamp of truth), open books and writing supplies of ink pots and quill pens, all in reference to the writings of the Church Fathers.
All seven saints were known as defenders of the Eucharist, particularly the Four Doctors of the Church who developed the doctrine of transubstantiation and defended it against heretics.
Historical Context:
The cycle of eleven paintings of The Triumph of the Eucharist was commissioned by the Archduchess Isabella who was the daughter of Philip II of Spain and the Governor of the Spanish Netherlands. It was planned as a gift for the convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid in 1625 where it still hangs today. This Franciscan Order of Poor Clares was one with which Isabella was closely associated.
The series is a mixture of allegory and religious propaganda intended to promote the worship of the Eucharist (ie the bread and wine consecrated as the body and blood of Christ and distributed at communion) which had been strengthened recently by the Council of Trent and which constituted an important element in Counter Reformation Catholicism.
This was a time of great concern on the part of the Catholic church as it attempted to correct not only the abuses of the clergy but also to reaffirm its tenets / dogma in the face.

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