I just learned that the Knights of Columbus Museum is holding an exhibit by my favorite 20th century artist, William Congdon. Congdon was part of the "Action" movement in art (think: Jackson Pollock), but shocked his fellow artists when he became a Catholic. "Poor Bill," they all agreed, "As a Catholic, he'll never do worthwhile art again."
You decide if they were right:
Congdon spent the second half of his life in Italy and ended his days as a long-standing guest in a monastery. He never stopped painting. But rather than use a brush, he used a kind of pastry spatula, the sort you use in frosting a cake. This gave his images heft and texture that is visible even in 72 ppi. He also mixed gold into his paints, giving them a breathtakingly solar quality:
In his mature years, his characteristic theme was the Crucifixion.
Having witnessed the liberation of the Bergen-Belson concentration camp,
Congdon was indelibly marked by the suffering written into the bodies
of the survivors. He came to realize that every suffering of ours is
Christ's in us; every suffering of his is ours. (See the article linked to his name, above.)
There is one of Congdon's paintings I have only seen in a black and white reproduction in print; it is nowhere to be found on the Internet, but for me it is the Angelus in a few strokes. (I would so love to see it as it was meant to be seen!) Mary is depicted as a kind of "C" shape in the lower left corner. In the opposite corner, a heavy streak of white is tearing toward her. That is all. Perhaps because I saw this image when Pope John Paul had barely finished giving his "Theology of the Body" talks, it has become for me (even though I have not seen it since) a kind of Theology of the Body in essence.
So I am going to see what I can do to get to New Haven this summer when I am in Boston for my retreat and the sisters' Jubilee celebration. What about you?