Fairy Tales by George MacDonald (1871)

SURPRISED BY JOY C.S. Lewis “Turning to the bookstall, I picked out an Everyman in a dirty jacket, Phantastes: A Faerie Romance, George MacDonald. Then the train came in. I can still remember the voice of the porter calling out the village names, Saxon and sweet as a nut—‘Bookham, Effingham, Horsley train.’ That evening I […]

The Heart Of The Andes by Frederic Edwin Church (1859)

COMMENTARY ON PSALM 104 John Calvin “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice,” and, therefore, we are “not only to be spectators in this beautiful theatre but to enjoy the vast bounty and variety of good things which are displayed […]

The Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole (1842)

NATURE Ralph Waldo Emerson But if a man be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. […]

The Creation by Franz Joseph Haydn (1798)

THE CREATION Franz Joseph Haydn Now heav’n in fullest glory shone; earth smiles in all her rich attire. The room of air with fowl is fill’d, the water swell’d by shoals of fish; by heavy beasts the ground is trod. But for all its glory, “the work was not complete.” There wanted yet that wond’rous […]

The Holy Sonnets by John Donne (1633)

Spiritual truth is difficult for the rational mind to grasp.  The Bible says the Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth and indeed, absent God’s intrusion our modern minds gravitate to only that which is reasonable – and reason is a hobbled teacher.  We understand this most directly in matters of love, for as Pascal […]

The Holy Trinity Icon by Andrei Rublev (c.1410)

According to legend, the first icon was created by the Gospel writer Luke, when he painted a likeness of Mary while she was still alive. (There is also a famous icon that shows Luke at an easel painting her.) In the fourth century Chrysostom wrote of having a portrait of the apostle Paul on his desk to inspire him as he penned his famous sermons. But the earliest surviving icons are from the sixth and seventh centuries, almost all of them preserved at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Syria.

The Scrovegni Chapel Frescoes by Giotto (c.1305)

Before Giotto, artists mostly worked from predetermined models and prototypes that had been handed down as part of the artistic tradition. These given rules and paradigms determined that artists would not stray far from the Byzantine heritage—art that was stiff, formal, and highly symbolic. But Giotto took another approach, and with it became the fountainhead of Western painting. When he approached a subject, he asked a simple question: What does it look like?