Monday, October 26, 2009

30 Days of Seeing

Day 7

Sacred Spain—a traveling exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

David and I had the delight of viewing this amazing exhibit yesterday. Not only was the art exquisite, the narrative on the walls was beautifully written and helped us appreciate this body of works that combine faith and art with such powerful emotion and profound depth. Here is an excerpt from one of the descriptions:

“One of the most important justifications for the use of images in religious practice lies in their capacity to excite empathy and move the viewer to contemplation of God. That Spanish art so often gives us the divine in terms that are both palpable and immediate underscores the role of the senses in engaging and intensifying emotional response.”

Indeed, this exhibit certainly moved me emotionally. In one room devoted to images of Christ’s passion lay a life-size sculpture of Jesus after he had been crucified. As I walked around the perimeter of his body, noting the deep gouges in his limbs from the spikes, his shoulders torn from their sockets and his knees scraped from falling, I grasped his torment in a more real way. As I studied his solitary figure in each of the paintings, I was overwhelmed by his loneliness. In one final image of Jesus after he had been scourged, the artist depicted a pathetic Jesus bending over and picking up his garments. I can’t describe the sorrow I felt, even still feel, as I remember him.

What I appreciate about contemplating art is how long it stays with me. Even today, I can recall the sculpture and a few of the images and feel the emotion of them. As I do, my sense of Jesus intensifies and my gratitude for what he has done for me.

If you live in Indy or close by, I encourage you to make sure and visit this exhibit. And another thing—it’s free!

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