I'm putting together a presentation on Marian Iconography, explained through Art, History, and Tradition. I'm anxious as all get out. But ever since I timidly called my parish office the other day and asked to use the main meeting hall in a couple weeks, I've gotten some outrageous feedback.
This tells me several things:
1) People like Pretty Things. (Pretty-lovers of the world, rejoice!)
2) People still love to learn.
3) Despite the lingering misgivings about moving across the country in pursuit of an unknown goal, People are nice. It's nice to be taken seriously.
I spoke with my grandfather this morning. I told him that sometimes I worry that I'm not succeeding in a conventional way (you know... thriving career, ring on the finger, indisputable life map, monstrous savings account). And this man, with traditional values and traditional beliefs and a traditional life, told me: "Ches, if you had that, we'd be worried about you. Just keep doing what you're doing."
4) It is really, really nice to be loved for who you are.
So, my bloggy internet pretty-loving friends. Rejoice in who you are. That's today's lesson.
lesson part 2: This is Madonna della Seggiola, or "Madonna of the Chair," a tondo by Raphael. What I love most, so near to Mother's Day, is how the limbs of Mary and Jesus are intertwined in a rhythm. I also love how Jesus is just a squirmy boy - see how he plays with his feet and toes, like any other baby. The painting was commissioned by someone in the Papal court, or possibly by Pope Leo X himself, which is hinted at for the viewer by the chair, which resembles the Papal Faldstool. Mary is an aristocrat in this image, and the bright Venetian colors are cool around the periphery and become warmer in the center, to draw your eye to the face of mother and child. John the Baptist hovers in the background, with a symbol of what lies ahead for this chubby baby boy. I saw this painting in real life. It's gorgeous... and smaller than you think it is.