Painting the Word Christian Pictures and Their Meanings by John Drury

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By John Drury

Christianity is one other state, says John Drury, and we have to familiarize ourselves with it on the way to comprehend the common which means of its paintings. during this fantastically written booklet, Drury, an Anglican priest and theologian, appears to be like at spiritual work throughout the a long time and offers them to us in a clean way-as works packed with ardour, stones and which means. They develop into the poetry of such everlasting human matters as beginning, loss of life, sacrifice, love and ethical goodness and failure.

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But another gaze, set ninety degrees from theirs, acts as a counter-balance and an anchor for the action in our world of spectators outside the picture. The in his dark purple robe occupies the very centre of the picture old man and his limpid, friendly eyes are on us. We should feel honoured. This senior Vendramin seems to have made his life and settled his account with God something which the younger men are still working on by their intent gazing. He does not hesitate to steady himself, though a layman, with a hand familiarly and unself-consciously grasping the sacred altar - which even priests are not really meant to do.

So the triptych's church-like and reliquary-like shape some high The seven prophets on in the when religious value to be disclosed shut heightened expectation oi by opening it. their balcony increase that expectancy. 1315, National Gallery, London. said to have composed) looks at the spectator. The other six are craning over in earnest expectation of the glory to he revealed by the opening of the doors. The little flags texts in waved which they prophesied at a great procession. But flutter it it is up from their hands like the intentness of their looking, the crouching of their bodies to see something below them, which most pitches up the excitement.

The return der of his right by kingdom human is to Mary, for he can now receive it back, not just as his pedigree, but from the heavenly source of dominion. By the same token, Christ's he had laid it down most explicit signal. in sacrifice life had been restored - and that motif of resurrection Whatever, and however many, things the are open, ready to receive it. all The gesture flag is may mean, not power and for ever because is the flag's Richard's hands just acquisitive, as neigh- testify. Mary Magdalen recognizing Cosmas seeing a heavenly truth in the course of theological conversation both make the same gesture.

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