+JMJ+ Oh, my, how do I love thee, Elizabeth Lev? Let me count the ways. I love reading your essays, I love reading your books. I love watching your interviews. But most of all, I love watching how you light up when you have free range to talk and share stories about Italy, especially Rome, and about art and about artists, especially about Catholic art and Catholic artists, and how you light up—and light up a room—especially when you talk about Michelangelo, Catholic artist par excellence.
I’ve been reading The Complementarity of Women and Men: Philosophy, Theology, Psychology, and Art, edited by Paul Vitz, a psychologist, with essays by Sr. Mary Prudence Allen (author of The Concept of Woman, a three-volume study that I have only glanced at but hope to start reading soon), J. Budziszewski (author of What We Can’t Not Know and Written in the Heart), and Elizabeth Lev (author of How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art and several others) and I’ll include a screenshot of the TOC for you.
The beauty of this book is that these authors are Catholics so we get essays by a Catholic psychologist and philosopher and art historian (and more) exploring the complementarity of women and men and it has been a fascinating read.
What I want to tell you about tonight is how much I’m enjoying the essay by Liz Lev: Michelangelo and the Shrine to Complementarity: The Sistine Chapel. (Once I’ve finished reading it and the rest of the book, I’ll write more about it.) A lot has been written about Michelangelo over the years and once I discovered Liz Lev, I realized that I could toss a lot of the other stuff I’d read and heard. Watch her videos and you’ll see what I mean. Thankfully, there are several of her videos on YouTube, so you’ll also see what I mean about how she lights up a room. Her enthusiasm is palpable. (And thanks be to God she does not read from boring papers and notes but speaks, just speaks, just tells her stories from her vast store of knowledge and from her heart, and I cannot tell you how much I love that! I’m not saying she doesn’t use notes, I’m saying she doesn’t read from them and she is anything but boring.)
Here’s one of her videos, Michelangelo’s Women: How the Renaissance Master Reinvented the Female Form: “This talk [at the University of St. Thomas] reveals the artist’s multi-faceted, unique and appreciative view of women and their central role in the history of humanity.”
Just listen to her debunk bad idea after bad idea about Michelangelo, the man, the artist, and his views on women. Note that Eve is at the center of the figures on the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel. There is a reason for that. She talks about it in her essay in Complementarity. I haven’t finished watching the video yet. (I should say “re-watching” it. It’s been a few years and I don’t remember if she covers it. I miss the days when I could remember things. Sigh. Ah, youth, wasted on the young.)
I want to go to Rome with Liz Lev as my tour guide, because that is another thing she does. Sadly, I don’t think, no, I know that will never happen, not with my health and wealth (or lack thereof), so I’m particularly glad that so many of her talks have been uploaded to YouTube.
Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. May we grow in holiness and virtue this year, and, by His grace, and with the help of great Catholic art and books, become the saints the Lord intends us to be. God bless you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
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Notes and Links
- The Complementarity of Women and Men: Philosophy, Theology, Psychology, and Art, edited by Paul Vitz: Paperback. (These are all Amazon affiliate links, see Full Disclosure below for more.)
- Michelangelo’s Women: How the Renaissance Master Reinvented the Female Form, a talk by Elizabeth Lev at the University of St. Thomas.
- How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art, by Liz Lev: Paperback, Kindle.
- Liz Lev’s author page at Amazon.
- J. Budziszewski author page at Amazon.
- Sr. Mary Prudence Allen author page at Amazon.
Image credit: Sistine Chapel ceiling, by Michelangelo, via Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Qypchak, Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 3.0, edited and cropped. Complementarity cover and TOC.
Full disclosure: When you make any purchase through my Amazon affiliate links (or my general Amazon link) on this site, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you. And thank you for your prayers and support.