Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Denny Wayman

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

25 posts in this topic

Darrell suggested I give some pictures of the LA Cathedral. I'll post a beginning one. Here is the website and go under ART.

My favorite piece of art is the two-story tapestry of Jesus' baptism

I also posted this picture of a stain class window of Jesus' Ascension down in the mausoleum. I like it because when taken with the exit sign above, it speaks volumes to all the saints burried there!

Denny

post-173-1128824911_thumb.jpg

post-173-1128825062_thumb.jpg

Edited by Denny Wayman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We finally got up to see this, did the tour (it starts at 1:00 pm, if you have the chance you really should do it to hear about everything -- plus, you get to sit in the cathedra if you want to have your picture taken, I passed, my wife sat there though.

I really like the openness of the chancel (and on the tour you get to roam around it and look and touch). I also really liked the baptistry. Best of all, as Denny noted, the tapestries. My favorites were the tapestries of the saints and blessed.

Although overall, it's a wonderful cathedral, I'm not sure I like the poured concrete panels it's made of, especially the plugged holes that are in each panel -- makes it look a bit industrial.

Dedicated in Sept. 02, there are still some things that are to be done. The Stations of the Cross aren't done yet (there is a set of the Stations in the St. Vibiana Chapel near the mausoleum). They will eventually be outside in the meditation garden. Also, they are working on a shrine for Our Lady of Guadalupe. They have several large crates filled with china that will be broken up to use in that shrine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was underwhelmed by the stained-glass-proxy tapestries -- and was generally not particularly in love with the church, aesthetically. I much prefered D.C.'s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steven, on your separated at birth comparison, why is the statue "allegedly" representing Our Lady Queen of the Angels?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven, on your separated at birth comparison, why is the statue "allegedly" representing Our Lady Queen of the Angels?
Um, you need to ask?

In keeping with the spirit of the comparison as a whole, the word "allegedly" is meant as a snarky suggestion that the representative reference to Mary is, ahem, not very persuasive, whether vis-a-vis continuity with any known historic Christian tradition of sacred art, first-century Palestinian cultural norms, or any other obvious frame of reference.

Move the statue from the church to a park across town, remove any plaque or inscription identifying the referent, and does anything about it make the identification of the figure as Mary either especially likely to occur to anyone, or especially plausible or persuasive if suggested?

More specifically, the Samurai Jack comparison is meant to suggest that this "Mary" looks less like a representation either of Our Lady of popular devotion or of Miriam of Nazareth as we might imagine her on the basis of archaeological and cultural studies, than like, I don't know, Joan of Arc in a kimono / samurai getup. I mean, that do, those sleeves. Give me a break.

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I probably didn't need to ask, but it was such fun.

The idea behind it (for better or worse) is that the sculpture incorporates various ethnicities, making Mary a universal. (I see more African than others, but I do see that this is a mix.) I see this statue in the same light as I see pictures of the Gospel from Africa in which Jesus is black, or from Korea in which Jesus is Asian. I know that Jesus and Jesus were Mediterranean Jews, which would mean they would likely have certain features, but I also understand them as being people who transcend that physicality. It is good to have Jesus (and Mary) in whom we can see ourselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, but here's the thing. I've seen 100 percent African Marys, Asian Marys, Latin American Marys, etc., that still exhibited continuity with the heritage of Christian sacred art in general and the representation of Mary particularly.

The Mary of popular devotion takes countless forms, Eastern and Western: There is the Virgin of Guadalupe, of Lourdes, of Fatima, of Loreto, of Czestochowa; Our Lady of Africa, of Europe, of Montserrat, of Shongweni; Our Lady of the Snows, of the Valley, of the Wayside, of the Woods; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, of Sorrows, of Victory; She who shows the Way, Mother of Loving Kindness, the Virgin of the Sign.

Yet remarkably despite vast diversity of cultures, styles and traditions, there is still something recognizable about Mary from culture to culture, tradition to tradition. The Mother of God Enthroned in Eastern iconography is somehow recognizably the same figure as the Virgin of a Western pieta, or the miraculous medal image.

What's going on in the LA cathedral strikes me not as a blending of cultures, but a radical break from all previous Marian iconography. It looks less to me like any conceivable Mary than some New Age goddess or icon of the Feminine As Such. It is as much or more Pocahontas, Joan of Arc, valkyrie, priestess, Amazon, you name it, as the Mother of God.

Here, let's play a little game of "One of These Things is Not Like the Others" with some Marian images from around the world:

IPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB ImageIPB Image

[Jeopardy!]Do DO do do, do DO do...[/Jeopardy]

Look at the head coverings (and where visible the hair). Look at the sleeves. Look at the overall "style" of the dress. Heck, look at the shape of the face, the cheeks, the chin, the nose. I'm telling you, Mary has a distinct look, and that last image ain't it.

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh? More historically accurate? You think it's more likely that Jesus' historical mother had close-cropped hair rather than long, went bare-headed rather than covered, and had sleeves like, well, I don't even have anything to compare them to, except a samurai outfit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're on to something there! The poses and the relative scale and positioning of the halos are nearly identical! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, but I have to admit I cheated. ::blushing::

I added the "Japanese sun" halo to Samurai Jack to match the "sunroof" halo of the LA Madonna (you can't see it in this picture, but that "halo" is actually a cutaway in the wall behind her).

Also, I switched and flipped the hands to create a "palms up" pose (originally they were palms down).

Still, I think that the pose works for Samurai Jack, and could just as easily be an original piece (I wouldn't be surprised if S.J. has been drawn in this pose, but when I originally did the page years ago I couldn't find one).

Also, while the LA Madonna's sleeves are vaguely reminiscent of the sleeves of S.J.'s kimono, I've seen samurai suits of armor even more strikingly similar to the LA Madonna's sleeves (unfortunately S.J. doesn't wear one of these).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, but here's the thing. I've seen 100 percent African Marys, Asian Marys, Latin American Marys, etc., that still exhibited continuity with the heritage of Christian sacred art in general and the representation of Mary particularly.

The Mary of popular devotion takes countless forms, Eastern and Western: There is the Virgin of Guadalupe, of Lourdes, of Fatima, of Loreto, of Czestochowa; Our Lady of Africa, of Europe, of Montserrat, of Shongweni; Our Lady of the Snows, of the Valley, of the Wayside, of the Woods; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, of Sorrows, of Victory; She who shows the Way, Mother of Loving Kindness, the Virgin of the Sign.

Yet remarkably despite vast diversity of cultures, styles and traditions, there is still something recognizable about Mary from culture to culture, tradition to tradition. The Mother of God Enthroned in Eastern iconography is somehow recognizably the same figure as the Virgin of a Western pieta, or the miraculous medal image.

What's going on in the LA cathedral strikes me not as a blending of cultures, but a radical break from all previous Marian iconography. It looks less to me like any conceivable Mary than some New Age goddess or icon of the Feminine As Such. It is as much or more Pocahontas, Joan of Arc, valkyrie, priestess, Amazon, you name it, as the Mother of God.

At least she has her clothes on!!

The artist's web page: Robert Graham-Artist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do the images below conform to the standard, Steve?

I don't know enough to give an authoritative or complete answer, but here's what stands out to me.

White, blue and red are the traditional colors for clothing the Virgin Mary, white for purity, blue for heaven and red, AFAIK, indicating Mary's close relationship with Jesus, who also wears blue and red.

Most of the images above are, obviously, very European, and like other cultural traditions Mary takes on the ethnic traits of the culture producing the art.

Looking at the faces, some are easy for me to recognize as Mary, others less so. (I would rate some of the Francisco de Zurbar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love to see Mary with books. Not scrolls or slips of paper, but bona-fide vellum bound medieval books. The ahistoricity of these images is astounding, but it does highlight what many Protestants miss in their assessment of Marian dogma, namely that she is also about tradition and witness. She is associated with the text, with theological reasoning. That awful Zubaran (3rd from top) is a bit puzzling though. She has a beautiful volume in her hand, but I don't understand her expression.

There are a few paintings of Mary actually reading to the infant, and I wonder if that is what is happening in the 2nd from bottom. The composition seems to be arranging Jesus, Mary, and Scripture rather than picturing Mary reading to the child.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love to see Mary with books. Not scrolls or slips of paper, but bona-fide vellum bound medieval books. The ahistoricity of these images is astounding, but it does highlight what many Protestants miss in their assessment of Marian dogma, namely that she is also about tradition and witness. She is associated with the text, with theological reasoning.

What an intriguing formulation.

That awful Zubaran (3rd from top) is a bit puzzling though. She has a beautiful volume in her hand, but I don't understand her expression.

Zubaran seems to have liked the child Mary as a subject. Here she seems to have nodded off with the book in her hand, highlighting her dedication to her devotions or study to the point of exhaustion. Here is another (almost equally unappealing) Zurbaran child Mary at her studies/devotion in a more alert state of mind:

There are a few paintings of Mary actually reading to the infant, and I wonder if that is what is happening in the 2nd from bottom. The composition seems to be arranging Jesus, Mary, and Scripture rather than picturing Mary reading to the child.

Right, the book is a thematic rather than a narrative element, like in a Pantocrator image. I recognize the style -- that looks like the work of Catholic novelist and painter Michael O'Brien. Contra the image title, it doesn't seem to represent Mary reading.

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Right, the book is a thematic rather than a narrative element, like in a Pantocrator image. I recognize the style -- that looks like the work of Catholic novelist and painter Michael O'Brien. Contra the image title, it doesn't seem to represent Mary reading.

This is a Michael O'Brien, but I am not sure I like it. It iconicizes the text the same way as Mary and the Infant. When Mary is reading from the text, either to herself or the child, that is one thing. When the text occupies the same level in a painting's thought structure as Mary or Jesus, that is another. It just seems theologically unbalanced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SDG wrote:

: White, blue and red are the traditional colors for clothing the Virgin Mary, white for purity, blue for heaven and red, AFAIK, indicating Mary's close relationship with Jesus, who also wears blue and red.

I don't know about Western art, but in Eastern art, one of them wears blue over red and the other wears red over blue, signifying that one is divinity taking on humanity while the other is humanity taking on divinity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
: White, blue and red are the traditional colors for clothing the Virgin Mary, white for purity, blue for heaven and red, AFAIK, indicating Mary's close relationship with Jesus, who also wears blue and red.

I don't know about Western art, but in Eastern art, one of them wears blue over red and the other wears red over blue, signifying that one is divinity taking on humanity while the other is humanity taking on divinity.

Yes, I'm familiar with this. Neither tradition is completely consistent, I think, but it is usually said that in Eastern art Jesus wears blue over red and Mary wears red over blue, but I've seen Mary wearing blue over red in both traditions, and of course cross-pollination and mixed styles exist. (It's complicated, which is why I left it out.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, yeah, you can always find exceptions somewhere. E.g., while direct depictions of God the Father seem to be okay in Western art (most famous example: the Sistene Chapel), they are not-so-okay in Eastern art because it is only God the Son who has become incarnate and has thus given the Godhead a face. And yet I know of a church here in Vancouver that has a painting on the ceiling which depicts God as an old man with a beard (and a rather Russian-looking man, at that). So there are minor deviations within the tradition -- but the broad mainstream of the tradition is what it is. I guess you might call these deviations "non-canonical", in the sense that "canon" = "ruler" = "guideline", and these works of art don't follow the generally accepted guidelines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SDG wrote:

: White, blue and red are the traditional colors for clothing the Virgin Mary, white for purity, blue for heaven and red, AFAIK, indicating Mary's close relationship with Jesus, who also wears blue and red.

I don't know about Western art, but in Eastern art, one of them wears blue over red and the other wears red over blue, signifying that one is divinity taking on humanity while the other is humanity taking on divinity.

The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (which is in the Prado, by the way and I hope Alan got to see it) is a good example of this color symbolism:

img27.jpg

The ceiling is blue with stars-heaven, as is Mary's cloak that covers her red dress- humanity. The angel Gabriel is just the opposite. If you look at the bottom of his robe you can see a bit of blue peeking out-he is a heavenly being but clothed in humanity- his red tunic. I think this was pretty standard iconography in the west. But I was in a Maronite church the other day and noticed the symbolism was reversed. Mary had a blue dress and a red cloak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fra Angelico, though far from the most typical Western sacred artist, is one of the most glorious. I will never forgive myself for missing the Fra Angelico show when it came to New York several years back -- the Met was closed the one day I trekked into the City to try to see it. (It turned out to be a good day anyway, but it was a crushing disappointment.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to toot my own horn, but I once got to see a giant Rublev exhibition in Moscow. I suppose that may not appeal to all in this thread.

The one Rublev I can find of Mary online features a blue over red motif. Otherwise among Russian icons there is a lot of red over blue, and many in which she is simply covered.

Edited by MLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0