Beauty: Catholic Art vs Iconoclasm Past and Present

Just watched an episode of Catholic Answers Live with Elizabeth Lev talking about her latest book, How Catholic Art Saved the Faith. Oh, my goodness, I’m enjoying this interview. When they were talking about Caravaggio I had tears in my eyes. Still do. (Video below. Links at the end of this post.)

Video starts where the Elizabeth Lev segment begins. I hope.

Cy Kellett: “One of the things, looking at this art—and I don’t know if I’m going to get in trouble for saying this, I don’t know if you’re allowed to say this anymore—I’m struck looking at these paintings that it’s better than the art we have today. Is that illegal? Are you allowed to say that?”

Elizabeth Lev: “I say it every day so…”

Cy Kellett: “My Lord, that is just a magnitude different of what the art is today.”

The lines that formed around the block to see works by Caravaggio are something that doesn’t happen today in modern art.

Elizabeth Lev: “And certainly not in the modern religious art of today.”

Cy Kellett and Elizabeth Lev, Catholic Answers Live, March 6, 2019.

The question and answers bit where a caller asked about what’s up with those ugly icons (hahaha!) and Dr. Lev’s reply, wow. I mean the full reply. Dr. Lev does that, that thing she does, speaking so casually one moment and the next she has launched us into the deep and we didn’t even realize we had left the shore. You might even wonder when you got into the boat! ;)

“Icons might actually be the next thing to help save the faith.”

Elizabeth Lev, Catholic Answers Live, March 6, 2019.

And apparently her next writing project is about icons. I am so looking forward to that!

And the segment about Michaelangelo and his faith and Marian devotion may be a revelation if your education has been mostly of the secular kind. (See I did work Mary into this post, after all.) I’ve read some about him and didn’t know these things.

“[Michaelangelo] had a particularly strong Marian devotion…His devotion to Mary, which continues throughout his life, shapes the way he views her, which is very unique. That’s one aspect of understanding Michaelangelo, just look at these images of Mary, completely different from the way other people represent her.”

Elizabeth Lev, Catholic Answers Live, March 6, 2019.

I did not know that he was a Third Order Franciscan. Had no idea. None. Or that he was buried in a Franciscan habit. Whoa. I need to learn more about him soon. Another project added to the list.

Notes and Links

  • Cy Kellett and Elizabeth Lev on Catholic Answers Live, March 6, 2019.
  • How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art, by Elizabeth Lev. Paperback. As far as I can tell, the ebook is not available through Amazon but is available from Sophia Institute Press in MOBI or EPUB formats. (I’d put the image of the book on here because it is a beautiful book, but tonight for some reason I can’t get the link to embed the way I’ve been doing it for days. Oy.)

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