|Br Eric Wandrey, LC, presents artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.|
May 6, 2011. New York, NY. Windows to the faith
are to be found in all walks of life, from
missions in the poorest regions of Mexico to the masterpieces
hanging along the marble corridors of Manhattan’s art museums. A
new initiative, The Creative Hand, was recently developed to give
New Yorkers a spiritually enriching encounter with the treasures just
a few blocks away.
On April 2nd, Br Eric Wandrey,
LC, who is currently doing his apostolic internship in Thornwood, NY,
led an art tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Intended for New York professionals, the tour was organized by
Mario Bruschi, a Regnum Christi member from New York. On
the most recent tour, 50 professionals viewed religious paintings by
Rafael, Carraci, Georges de la Tour, Carravaggio, and others.
each painting, Br Eric presented some interesting facts about the
artist’s personal background, particular style, and use of iconography before
delving into the spiritual meaning of the work. For example,
he noted that Georges de La Tour’s “The Penitent Magdalene
(1625-50), was painted after the artist became involved with a
Franciscan-led religious revival in Lorraine. His style was influenced by
Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro technique, and he took “nocturnal light effects to
an unprecedented level.” As for the iconography, various symbols show
Mary Magdalene turning away from her prior attachment to her
own beauty, and reflecting on the inevitability of death: she
is looking into darkness, a symbol of death, rather than
at the mirror, and holding a skull. Her jewels are
thrown on the floor, indicating her rejection of worldliness, while
in the mirror a candle slowly burns away—yet another symbol
of approaching death.
|Br Eric Wandrey, LC, presents Georges de La Tour's "The Penitent Magdalene."|
After presenting the painting, Br Eric invited
the participants to apply its spiritual lessons to their own
lives: like the pre-conversion Mary Magdalene, we too can become
excessively focused on material realities, whether they be beauty or
wealth or success or comfort. And like her, we must
detach from these things so that our hearts can be
free for something better—for a love that will take us
through the portal of death, from this life into the
After the tour, several participants commented that they appreciated the
spiritual reflections on the artwork, since it brought ideas and
lessons to light that had never occurred to them before
when looking at those paintings.
"I never considered the idea
of art as a form of prayer, but after hearing
Brother Eric´s talks, it has given me a new perspective
on both art and prayer," said participant Nancy Peters. "Br Eric
makes everything easy to understand, and the way he gives
us something personal to ´take away´ from each painting is
important, and helpful for us to share it with others."
many, it was a different and yet helpful way to
enrich their walk through Lent and prepare for the celebration
of the Paschal mysteries at Easter. And for the organizers,
it was the start of what promises to be a
worthwhile series that will continue throughout the coming year.