Art and Faith

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Scenes from Heaven. music from the Fauré Requiem

The religious art of the Russian artist Vladimir Borovikovsky is combined with the In Paradisum from the Fauré Requiem performed by the Cambridge Singers under the direction of John Rutter.

Valery Fedotov. Prayer. 2007

Prayer (Valery Fedotov, 2007)

We are going to end this week featuring Valery Fedotov’s artworks with this painting (the featured artist next week is Valery Mokrushin). No, it is not “great art”, however, it is not “Elvis on velvet” or those hideous pictures of children with the large eyes. There are going to be those who shall attack it as trite and sentimental. Nevertheless, Mr Fedotov’s technical skill shines forth in the painting. The use of light is masterful and the use of the palette is very subtle, with no cartoonish primary colours being used at all. It is not trompe l’oeil, but, it tends in that direction. It is a humble domestic piece with no pretensions, and that is refreshing.

Of course, the real reason that some would criticise this work harshly is that it is “accessible” to most people without ostentatious and pompous “explanation”. The work is very straightforward, and portrays the world of a child wonderfully. I have no doubt that Mr Fedotov is a father and has personal knowledge of the world of small children. There is such a thing as a child-like faith that is not at all similar to childish faith. Indeed, we as adults are called to emulate this trusting faith, and I would say that this is one of the hardest aspects of the Christian life.

We are called to this simplicity and innocence, but, such is not a substitute for prudence and discernment. Rather, it is what informs our judgement, so, it is not a contradiction at all. The simple is never easy. The hardest recipes to do well are those with only a few ingredients, a basic drapery is amongst the hardest things to paint correctly (per working artists of my acquaintance), and only the truly beautiful can wear clean-lined clothing with utter grace. The simple is HARD to execute well because every imperfection shows.

Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for it is unto such as these that belongs the Kingdom of Heaven. God knows that I have many sins on my plate, but, I shall say that the raising of a known and convicted child molester to the minor clergy is not right. I shall not be silent. Bishop Nikolai of Alaska shamed the entire Church by his action. He spat on Christ and pushed Him into the mire. Deus videte et iudicare.

It is sad (but revealing) to report that the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America (not a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, either at home or abroad, thank God!) has not condemned Bishop Nikolai for his action. Indeed, it has been silent. These men are not bishops, they are thieves of souls, and I, for one, am not going to be quiet about this, especially not on the Lord’s Day. The URL for a UPI article proving the veracity of my words follows. We call ourselves Christians… events like this make it clear why there is so much unbelief. We have brought it upon ourselves. May God have mercy on us.

URL for the article:

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/01/10/molester_allowed_to_become_orthodox_reader/8732/

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