I’ve been reading a lovely little book this week – “The Art Of Holy Week And Easter”, by Sister Wendy Beckett.
Subtitled ‘Meditations on the ‘Passion and Resurrection of Jesus’, it accompanies us on the journey through Holy Week, in art.
A compact size, it’s handy if you’re reading on the move, and it’s priced under £10.
A Little Gem
Each page features a Holy Week or Easter painting, with accompanying thoughts and background.
Perfect to ponder in quiet moments, for your own personal reflection.
Jesus exudes calm dignity in “Christ Before The High Priest” (Gerrit van Honthorst).
We feel Peter’s bitter regret following his betrayal, in “Peter’s Repentance” by Cristoforo de Predis.
And a leprous Jesus suffers alongside humanity, in Grunewald’s “Crucifixion”.
“The Lamentation Of Christ” by Giotto – part of the moving fresco cycle on the life of Christ in Padua’s Scrovegni Chapel.
Giotto was first in western art to depict emotion – showing Jesus in His humanity as well as in His divinity, experiencing feelings we can relate to.
The Supper At Emmaus
For me, the highlight is Caravaggio’s “Supper At Emmaus”, showing us the moment when two weary and disillusioned travellers recognise Jesus in the breaking of bread.
“Their eyes were opened, and they recognised him.” (Gospel of St Luke.)
And after the resurrection, we’re shown doubting Thomas, and the Ascension – and a new life begins.
About Sister Wendy
Sister Wendy first appeared on our screens back in the 1990s.
Entering convent life at 16 before going on to study at St Anne’s College, Oxford, Wendy was awarded a congratulatory first class honours degree in English Literature.
JRR Tolkien was president of her final examinations board and asked her to consider staying on at the university, an invitation which she declined.
After living and teaching in South Africa, Wendy returned to England where she lived in the grounds of a Carmelite monastery, making her living through her writing.
After a film crew overheard her commentary while attending an art exhibit, they asked her permission to film – and the rest is history!
It’s estimated that programmes such as “Sister Wendy’s Grand Tour” and “Sister Wendy’s Odyssey”, often attracted up to 25% of the British viewing public.
The Art Of Lent
Another little book you may enjoy is Sister Wendy’s “The Art Of Lent”, which features a painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.