Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Stained Glass and the Book of Revelation"

AN ARTICLE on the apocalyptic design of traditional churches: Stained Glass and the Book of Revelation, by Msgr. Charles Pope. From that article:
Most Catholics are unaware of how our traditional church buildings are based on designs given by God himself. Designs that stretch all the way back to Mount Sinai when God set forth the design for the sanctuary in the desert and the tent of meeting. Many of the fundamental aspects of our church layouts still follow that plan and the stone version of it that became the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
[source]

Monday, August 29, 2011

Build Your Own Gothic Cathedral

THE EARLY 20th Century saw the recovery of canonical iconography in the Christian East, and we now are seeing a revival of the Baroque. But as far as I know, there is nowhere an artist can go to learn Gothic art and architecture: it is not a living tradition. But if we understand the original principles used, we can reconstruct a tradition and make it our own. David Clayton writes about his work to recreate Gothic painting from scratch here. And it so happens that we know many of the original design principles of Gothic architecture.

In my travels I've seen lots of attempts at putting a Gothic ‘look’ on churches of various denominations. Decorative elements, such as pointed arches and rose windows, are supposed to make a building look ‘churchy’, but these designs often fall flat and can even look comical (let's hope not on purpose, for the sake of the souls of the designers). The problem is that these design elements simply don't look right. Their proportions are wrong, sometimes severely wrong, and are far from the originals they purport to resemble. In the case of Gothic pointed arches, often the geometry isn't even close, and they may end up looking something like the Gateway Arch (which itself is often poorly duplicated hereabouts). You cannot have just any kind of curve to reproduce a Gothic arch. Because I do not want to embarrass any property owners, I didn't take any pictures.

Not Gothic
This is not a Gothic arch.

I'm willing to understand poor work for C-grade buildings that are inexpensively made and quickly constructed out of cheap materials: perhaps the builder simply didn't know how such design elements are made, and wasn't paid to find out, and so the client is more at fault. I am far less willing to accept the same from high end architecture. But I seriously doubt that most contemporary architecture schools — of the revolutionary kind that came out of the 1960s — would even allow the teaching of antique design methods. There is a school of thought that thinks that the study of history is dangerous because people will be tempted to reproduce the errors of the past; rather, I say the study of history allows someone the ability to recognize mistakes and not repeat them, as well as help you see more recent mistakes that ought to be corrected. (An old joke says that conservatives never allow mistakes to be corrected, while progressives keep making the same mistakes over and over again.)

The Gothic style was not a mistake: it is the crowning glory of architecture.

Lincoln Cathedral, Triforium Detail

Authentic Gothic arches at Lincoln Cathedral. Source: A. D. White Architectural Photographs, Cornell University Library.

We are told that the Middle Ages were barbarous and ignorant, the worst of times, and have nothing to offer contemporary Man. But still they made the Gothic cathedrals, and contemporary Man is held in awe, knowing that he is incapable of building such things today. Nowadays, we assume that knowledge equals understanding, and that technology is a substitute for theory, but the artifacts of our culture merely show that we have more money than we do a sense of beauty. And a little bit of faith is worth more than a lot of knowledge.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Excessively Pretty Art

ONE OF THE fun things a Catholic can do is criticize both sides of any given secular debate. While it is far too easy to criticize the intentional ugliness of contemporary academic state-sponsored art, we often forget to criticize the opposite: the overly sentimental and excessively pretty art favored by conservative Evangelicals. Simcha Fischer does that here and Hilary White comments on that there. And The Crescat does that all the time.

What I find particularly fascinating about this whole debate is seen in the comments in Simcha's article. People take their tastes seriously and questioning this taste is seen as a personal attack. But the odd thing is that people typically justify their tastes purely through the idea that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Both the Evangelical and the Modernist use this justification.

This ought not be too surprising, since both groups have similar beliefs. Both deny or avoid the metaphysical questions which form the intellectual core of Catholicism. Both groups are uncomfortable with the transcendental values of truth, goodness, and beauty, and so similarly see these things as a matter of subjective preference.

I think this is perhaps why since my youth I've always preferred Catholic and Jewish (and Eastern Orthodox) women more than Protestant women: and that was long before I became Catholic. Due to the influence of their religion and culture, their attitude towards beauty was more objective and natural than the artificial beauty or intentional ugliness more generally found among Protestants. I wouldn't be catholic if I failed to mention that natural and objective beauty can be found in traditional cultures throughout the world. I see two erroneous arguments. First, cosmetics are designed to enhance beauty, therefore more cosmetics will make someone more beautiful. Second, a human being has an intrinsic, ontological beauty  due to being made in the Image and Likeness of God; therefore, nothing needs to be done to be beautiful. Both are wrong, but rather popular opinions.

We should not be afraid to examine ourselves, and determine why we find something beautiful. Is it merely fashion, or do deeper principles apply?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - view from the Gateway Arch

The Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, in downtown Saint Louis, is seen here from the top of the Gateway Arch. When Laclede and Choteau planned the village of Saint Louis in 1764, this spot was reserved for the Catholic church: this structure was completed in 1834, and was preceded by a brick church, a log church, and a log house. The earliest Masses were offered here in a tent. The rectory attached to the church dates from the 1960s. Formerly the Cathedral of the Archdiocese, this is now a personal parish.

Please note the view looking down on the church. While the majority of Americans claim to be religious — or spiritual — there is often little concrete evidence of it, for the most prominent structures here are either towers of commerce or the state.
DSC_6960

Feast of Saint Louis

SAINT LOUIS, King of France:

Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Louis IX.jpg
Basilica of Saint Louis.

The City Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - painting of Saint Louis IX, King of France, with the relic of the crown of thorns, originally from a Saint Louis Church in Massachusetts
City Museum.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Saint Louis IX, King of France
Resurrection Cemetery.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - Saint Louis IX, King of France
Christian Brothers College.

Saint Louis University, in Saint Louis, MIssouri, USA - statue of King Louis IX, at night, in the snow
Saint Louis University.

Statue, Apotheosis of Saint Louis, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, in Forest Park, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - view at night
Saint Louis Art Museum.


Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Calvary Cemetery, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Louis IX, King of France
Calvary Cemetery.

...Confess thyself often and choose for thy confessor a right worthy man who knows how to teach thee what to do, and what not to do; and bear thyself in such sort that thy confessor and thy friends shall dare to reprove thee for thy misdoings. Listen to the services of Holy Church devoutly, and without chattering; and pray to God with thy heart and with thy lips, and especially at Mass when the consecration takes place. Let thy heart be tender and full of pity toward those who are poor, miserable, and afflicted, and comfort and help them to the utmost of thy power.

Maintain the good customs of thy realm and abolish the bad. Be not covetous against thy people and do not burden them with taxes and imposts save when thou art in great need.

If thou hast any great burden weighing upon thy heart, tell it to thy confessor or to some right worthy man who is not full of vain words. Thou shalt be able to bear it more easily....


— from a letter of Saint Louis to his son.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rev. William Barnaby Faherty, S.J. -- R.I.P.

FROM STLTODAY:
The Rev. William Barnaby Faherty, a prolific author and noted St. Louis historian, died today at St. Louis University Hospital.

He was 96 and had been in declining health, friends and family said.

He taught history for many years at St. Louis University and wrote more than 40 books of history, fiction, essays and poetry.

His writings explored the Roman Catholic experience in St. Louis. One of his most recent works was “Catholic St. Louis: A Pictorial History.”

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/88184cc2-ccdd-11e0-9e3c-001a4bcf6878.html#ixzz1VmaHg7LP
I am greatly honored to have worked with Father Faherty over the past several years, providing photos for some of his publications as well as assisting him with speaking engagements.

Fr. Faherty was highly intelligent and had a prodigious memory, even in his later years. He was opinionated, as is expected of a college professor, but he was a gentleman, and I found him to be kind even under painful circumstances. Because of his long life, he had a view of history and of the Church which transcended the often simplistic opinions found in younger generations: he was simultaneously an ardent supporter and severe critic of many of the reforms promulgated since the Second Vatican Council.

Fr. William Barnaby Faherty speaks before the Spring Conference of the Catholic Library Association, at the Visitation Academy library, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA

Fr. Faherty speaking before the Spring Conference of the Catholic Library Association, at the Visitation Academy library, in Town and Country, Missouri. March 13th, 2010.

Father William Barnaby Faherty S.J., at Jesuit Hall, at Saint Louis University, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Fr. Faherty at Jesuit Hall, at Saint Louis University, on May 17th, 2009. We spent that afternoon driving around various historical sites in north Saint Louis County.

Father Faherty was the authority on regional ecclesiastical history, and knew many of the famous personages who made the Church in the United States what it is today.  Some of his books can be found here at Amazon.

I recall what Fr. Faherty told me about the religious life. He said that you will know that you have a true vocation if you find joy in it. People who are always miserable probably don't have the right vocation. He seemed to have found joy.

Click here for his obituary at the Saint Louis Review.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Newsletter from the Oratory

 

SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
EMAIL NEWSLETTER

2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
www.institute-christ-king.org
www.TraditionForTomorrow.com
314-771-3100
August 18, 2011


SACRED MUSIC CHOIR CAMP - SUMMER AT THE ORATORY -
HALL BATHROOM RENOVATION - DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH HIGH ALTAR -
LOUIS IX, KING - CAN YOU GUESS



Dear Faithful and Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,




SECOND ANNUAL SACRED MUSIC CAMP: A TRIUMPH OF WORK AND PRAYER


Sacred Choir Camp 2011

The children of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, filled with fond memories of last year’s choir camp, returned to Kentucky last week with great enthusiasm and met up with old friends from around the country. The results of their dedication were evident within the first days of their arrival. Guided by our music director Nick Botkins and the other faculty members and counselors, the young musicians quickly settled into a rigorous schedule of three hours of class and two hours of rehearsal per day. Classes included vocal technique with Mr. Botkins, music composition with composer Kevin Allen, Latin with Mr. Joseph Reidy, and Gregorian chant with Canon Aaron Huberfeld. Canon Huberfeld’s presence at the camp this year made possible the celebration of daily Mass. The camp closed with a High Mass at which the children sang the pieces which they had been learning throughout the week.
                                         

                                  Classes with Canon Huberfeld, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Botkins

             

The Ursuline sisters who hosted the camp at their retreat center followed the progress of the camp very closely and were deeply touched by the performance which the children offered them halfway through the week. “What beautiful Latin!” exclaimed one. They all expressed their earnest hope that our children would remain committed to the study of sacred music, and that they would see them all again next summer. You can be sure that they will!



The Institute of Christ the King wishes to express its thanks to the camp’s faculty members and counselors, as well as to the generous donors who helped to defray the cost of the camp. You have made a valuable investment in our children’s future and in the future of Church. May God bless your generosity!





SUMMER AT THE ORATORY – INVITE FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, AND FAMILY

  
It’s this Sunday! Following the 10:00 AM High Mass in honor of King St. Louis IX, Patron of our city and Archdiocese, the annual festivities of Summer at the Oratory will begin just outside the church in the courtyard between rectory, church and 1888 Grammar School buildings. The best barbecued meats, cool beer, and live Jazz will greet the hungry and the thirsty, while all sorts of fun activities will entertain the young and old alike: games, prizes, quilt raffle, country market, and new this year, a dunking booth for famous Oratory personages and horse rides on the lower parking of the Oratory!

More and better will also be found in the expanded Silent Auction which will be conducted to highlight and support the restoration needs of the Oratory “TraditionForTomorrow” – (please follow our work and support it by your prayers and donation!) There are many wonderful and interesting auction items for everything from tickets to events, restaurant dinners, tax service, and the ever popular dinner with the Canons!
Please come, and bring your friends, neighbors, and family!


CHURCH HALL BATHROOM RENOVATION



One of the most obvious needs for improvement on the Oratory campus has been the condition of the bathrooms in the church hall. We have begun to address this issue by remodeling the men’s bathroom. This past week we have had a remediation contractor remove the existing tile floor. Next week we will have the plumber and construction contractor begin the installation of new fixtures, partitions, drop ceiling, lighting and ceramic floor tiles, along with wall repair and painting. We hope this will help to make the hall a better place for our families to gather and it will also be more pleasant to use these facilities.

The cost for the men’s room refurbishment will be approximately $15,000.00. We also plan in the future to remodel the ladies’ room at a similar cost, after having received necessary funding through donations. Thanks to two very generous companies, the price of the bathroom renovation has been reduced to mostly material cost only ($30,000.00 for both bathrooms). Due to our limited resources, we will have to renovate in two stages, repairing the worse case first. When we have collected enough funds, we will tackle the second stage, which will be the repair and remodeling of the women’s bathroom.


Current state of bathroom, in the hall
We are very grateful for the already generous donations of labor for this project by Brooks Plumbing and O.A.S. Construction Co. and we need the funds to buy the fixtures, plumbing supplies and other construction materials to complete the renovation.

Please excuse any inconvenience this remodeling work will cause during this construction phase.



DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY MEETS CENTURY-OLD ALTAR

The beautiful altars at St. Francis de Sales Oratory were designed and built by the E. Hackner Altar Company of La Crosse, WI, a premier provider of church furnishings from 1881 to 1967. Founded by Mr. Egid Hackner, a German immigrant from Bavaria, the company employed artisans, sculptors, and craftsmen to make church altars – mostly by hand, as power machinery was not introduced until 1910. Mr. Hackner referred to the “artistic products” of those days, and evidently placed a high value on the originality and artistic quality of his altars from that period. Indeed, more than one hundred years after its installation in 1908, the magnificent main altar at St. Francis de Sales is a grand testament of Mr. Hackner’s high standards of artistry and craftsmanship.

The reredos of the high altar stands more than 52 feet tall, and is an intricate system of carved niches, statues, and spires pointing towards heaven. Typical of that period, the custom designed reredos was handmade by the 30 or so artisans, then shipped in parts, and assembled on site. Today, even when one stands near the foot of the high altar, it would not be possible to see all the details of this towering reredos. Most images of this often-photographed high altar convey the breath-taking size of the reredos, but cannot bring all its intricate details into focus all at once.

 
High Altar St Francis de Sales Oraotry
Photo by Mark Abeln

But what the human eye cannot see and a conventional camera cannot show, Mr. Mark Abeln, a modern artisan in his own right, has captured on print. Using 288 separate photos shot over a period of two hours, Mr. Abeln has composed an image of the high altar which shows the work of the artisans a century ago in glorious detail. Employing cutting-edge digital photographic techniques, including a special algorithm he wrote for this purpose, the 288 images were painstakingly aligned and “stitched” together to form a seamless single image. Distortions due to camera angle, exposure differences, the effect of heat, and the unique dynamic range in the lighting of the subject, were carefully eliminated in the composition process which took over 40 hours.

The resultant image is most remarkable in that it resembles a painting more than a photograph. In this one single, large image we are now able to see in sharp detail the beautiful, majestic altar built over a century ago, in a way even the builders themselves could not have seen. It is as if the high altar has been captured on canvas, as a painting in which the brush strokes are individual elemental photos, meticulously applied so that we might see old art in a brand new way.

This project was Mr. Abeln’s contribution to the restoration effort of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, and he has generously provided a large poster-sized print, which is now framed and available for viewing at the Rectory. Additional giclee prints will be made available for purchase to raise funds to support the restoration of this church. The Oratory is very grateful to be the recipient of this beautiful modern photographic artwork.




LOUIS IX OF FRANCE, KING AND SAINT



Lord Jean de Joinville (1225-1317) was a Crusade companion of King Louis IX of France and wrote a biography of St. Louis based on his 22-year friendship with the king. After the death of the King, Lord Joinville was a witness in the canonization process of King Louis IX, whose canonization by Pope Boniface III took place in 1297. From Joinville’s Life of King St. Louis, we learn about the saint, a liberal almsgiver:
From his childhood up, he was compassionate towards the poor and the suffering; and it was the custom that, wherever he went, six score poor should always be replenished in his house with bread and wine, and meat or fish every day. In Lent and Advent, the number was increased, and many a time the King would wait on them, and place their meat before them, and would carve their meat before them, and with his own hand would give them money when they went away. Likewise on the high vigils of solemn feasts, he would serve the poor with all these things, before he either ate or drank. 

And of the tender love the king had for his children:


Before he went to bed, he used to send for his children, and would tell them stories of the deeds of good kings and emperors; and he used to tell them that they must take example by people such as these. He would tell them too, about the deeds of wicked rich men, who by their lechery and their rapine and their avarice, had lost their kingdoms. "And these things," he used to say, "I tell you as a warning to avoid them, lest you incur the anger of God." He had them taught the Hours of Our Lady, and caused the Hours for the Day to be repeated to them, in order to give them the habit of hearing their Hours when they should come into their estates.



CAN YOU GUESS: WHERE IS THIS IN THE ORATORY?

Our third visual challenge shows the patina of age from somewhere on the Oratory campus. Please check the blog of www.TraditionForTomorrow.com to see it. If you recognize and can identify the location of this image, please leave a message on the comment section of the blog. The first person to give the correct answer will win a special “Institute” chocolate bar!



I thank you wholeheartedly for all you do for the Institute and its Oratory here in St. Louis. Without your generous help none of these beautiful events and projects we are presenting here to you would be possible.
May God bless you and your generosity,
 
Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Photos of Saint Paul Church, in Highland, Illinois

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Paul Church, in Highland, Illinois. This modernist church, built in 1951, is in the Diocese of Springfield. It is located in Madison County, about 32 highway miles east of downtown Saint Louis. I took these photos in April of this year, during Lent.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - exterior

According to the church's website:
The Catholic Parish of Highland, IL is but a few years younger than Highland itself. In December 1843, the Catholics in and around Highland (a village of 60 families) decided to build a frame church. The cornerstone was laid on May 1, 1844 and was ready for occupancy in 1846. In 1854, a new brick church was built and on Easter Sunday, 1856, the first services were held. In 1951, the second church was raised to make room for a much needed larger church with a seating capacity of 800. On October, 12, 1952, the dedication of the present church was held. Through the years, St. Paul’s has grown to meet the needs of its congregation. Today, the parish serves more than 5,000 area Catholics.

St. Paul School System provides Catholic education of children from pre-school through eight grade. The current grade school was constructed in 1956, with a major renovation in 1993. In 2009 a restoration project relocated the tabernacle and crucifix to behind the altar.

In 1995, the former St. Paul High School was renovated to better serve St. Paul Parish. The building is now used for the Religious Education Program, meetings, parish gatherings, gymnasium, and cafeteria.
Until 1843, this area was in the Diocese of Saint Louis, under Bishop Joseph Rosati, C.M. When the original church was completed, it was a part of the new Diocese of Chicago. The parish's fifth priest, Fr. Joseph Meckel, wrote an early history of the church, in German.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - nave

Saint Paul's is one of the largest parishes in the Diocese, with four Sunday Masses and about 5300 members in 1800 families.

According to the Highland Historical Society:
Highland, Illinois is one of the oldest Swiss settlements in the United States. It was founded in 1831 by Swiss pioneers from Sursee, Switzerland. Led by Dr. Kasper Koepfli, the party formed the settlement of New Switzerland on October 14, 1831. Our city has shared the title of "Sister City" with the town of Sursee, Switzerland, since 1976. The name Highland was chosen in 1836 when General Joseph Semple convinced the settlers the area resembled his native homeland of Scotland.
Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - sanctuary

The sanctuary decorated for Lent.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle, which shows the Holy Spirit as a dove descending, along with the Eucharistic symbols of wheat and grapes; on the base is the pious pelican, which feeds its starving young by piercing its breast with its beak, as a symbol of Christ's self-sacrifice.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - stained glass window of Saint Paul with tent

The church's patron is Saint Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles. This window shows Saint Paul's occupation as a tentmaker. He is also shown holding the sword of his martyrdom. Note the quill and book, representing Paul's many epistles.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - stained glass window of the conversion of Saint Paul

The conversion of Saint Paul. Christ asked Paul, “why are you persecuting me?” The windows here show a sailboat, symbolizing Paul's extensive missionary voyages.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - stained glass window with Christological symbols

Christological symbols in the windows: the Greek Ichthys or fish on the left, an early symbol of Christ; and the ball and crosses and crown representing Christ the King. On the far right is a station of the cross: Christ in the tomb.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - cornerstone

The church's cornerstone.

SAINT PAUL
CHURCH
AMDG
1951

AMDG is an abbreviation of the Latin ad majorem Dei gloriam, “for the greater glory of God”.

Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Highland, Illinois, USA - parish hall

The parish hall.

The church is well-known for its annual Kirchenfest, or church festival, to be held on August 27 and 28, 2011.

Address:
1412 Ninth Street
Highland, Illinois 62249

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oratory Billboard

A BILLBOARD, advertising the Latin Mass at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis:

Billboard for Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

This billboard is located at the Kingshighway Boulevard overpass just south of Interstate 44. It includes the church's restoration website, TraditionForTomorrow, and phone number, (314) 771-3100. On the left of the billboard is shown a monstrance:

Monstrance, at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

This monstrance is original to the church, and includes a figure of Saint Francis de Sales.

Clara claris praeclara

SAINT CLARE is greatly to be honored; here are excerpts from her canonization:
CLARA CLARIS PRAECLARA meritis — CLARE OUTSTANDINGLY CLEAR WITH CLEAR merits, in Heaven with the clarity of great glory, and on Earth with the splendor of sublime miracles, is clearly clear. Here this Clare's strict and high Religion twinkles, above the greatness of this one's eternal reward radiates, this one's virtue by magnificent signs, begins to shine upon mortals. To this Clare there was entitled here the Privilege of most high poverty; to this one there is repaid in the highest an inestimable abundance of treasures; to this one by Catholics a full devotion and a heap of honor is exhibited. This Clare did her shining works here mark out, this Clare the plenitude of Divine Light on high does clarify, this one to the Christian peoples do the stupendous works of her prodigies declare.

O Clare, endowed in a manifold manner with titles of clarity! Before thy conversion thou were indeed clear, in thy conversion clearer, in thy comportment in the cloister outstandingly clear, and after having run down the space of thy present life thou has begun to shine as most clear! By this Clare a clear mirror of example goes forth to this generation; by this one the lily of virginity is offered among the heavenly amenities; by this one throughout the lands are the manifest remedies of interventions sensed. O clarity of blessed Clare to be admired, which as much as it is sought more studiously through individual examples, so much more splendid is it found among individual examples! This one gleamed, I say, in the world, in Religion she outshone; in her house she enlightened as a ray, in the cloister she flashed as lightning. She gleamed in life, after death she irradiates; she was clear on Earth, in the sky she shines back! O how great the vehemence of the light of this one and how vehement the illumination of this clarity of hers! This light, indeed, remained enclosed in secret cloisters, and outside it emitted sparkling rays; it was gathered together in a strict convent, and it was sprinkled upon the entire age; it was guarded within, and it flowed forth outside. For indeed, Clare lay hidden, but her life lay open; Clare was silent, but her fame shouted out; she was concealed in her cell and she was known among cities. Nor is it wonderful; because a light so enkindled, so lightsome, could not be hidden away so as to not shine and give a clear light in the house of the Lord; nor could a vessel of so many aromatics be put back and not fragrance and resprinkle the Lord's mansion with a sweet odor. Nay, since in the narrow recluse of solitude this one harshly ground down the alabaster of her body, the whole court of the Church has been filled full in every manner with the odors of her sanctity....
— from Clara claris praeclara, the bull of Pope Alexander IV, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, on the canonization of St. Clare of Assisi, Co-Foundress of the Poor Clares. Given on September 26, A.D. 1255.

Saint Clare's feast is held today in the new calendar, and tomorrow in the old. The life of Saint Clare, from the Catholic Encyclopedia, is found here.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Autochrome

AUTOCHROME was the earliest practical method of color photography, created by the brothers Auguste Marie and Louis Nicolas Lumière, and first marketed in 1907.

A distinctive feature of Autochrome is its muted palette of colors, based on orange, green, and violet. While unable to duplicate many colors, such as bright red and blue, many thought that this process produced subtle, beautiful, and delicate images, while avoiding the garish color often found in newer methods. Autochrome remained popular, particularly in France, until the 1950s.

Here is my attempt to reproduce the color of Autochrome. I'm working on images like these for an exhibition.

Unusual sky color illumines buildings in the Soulard neighborhood in Saint Louis, Missoui, USA
Buildings in the Soulard neighborhood of Saint Louis.

Autochromed yellow flowers

Autochromed yellow flowers 2

Autochromed purple flowers

Autochromed water lily

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - purplish tulip
Autochrome can't show red.

Pink flowers
But Autochrome is famed for its subtle pink hues.

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - lily

Silver Lake Park, in Highland, Illinois, USA - pink Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty) wildflower

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - red tulip
Red becomes orange.

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - purple flowers

Cliff Cave County Park, in Mehlville, Missouri, USA - wildflower meadow in fog
Cliff Cave County Park, in Mehlville, Missouri.

Pere Marquette State Park, near Grafton, Illinois, USA - panorama of indian mound
Indian mound at Pere Marquette State Park, near Grafton, Illinois.

Saint Francis Xavier Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave
Saint Francis Xavier Church, in Saint Louis.

Holy Angels Parish (former Saint Bernard Church), in Wood River, Illinois, USA - Marian garden
Holy Angels Church, in Wood River, Illinois.

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Palm Sunday procession
Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis.

Saint Peter Roman Catholic Church, in Jefferson City, Missouri, USA - altar of Saint Joseph
Saint Peter Church in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - full sanctuary
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.