Friday, October 16, 2009


Interactive art has always fascinated me. Not the kind that calls you to do anything – but art that works between pieces. For example, in Lublijana, Slovenia there is a statue of a famous poet (I believe and I can’t remember his name – sorry) that stands in the town square. “Notice the way he is looking,” we were instructed by our host, “He stares across the square to where his love lived, a love he could never have.” And sure enough on the side of the building where she once lived was a sculpture of window with her leaning out of it. Pretty cool.

At our own cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist there is a statue of Saint John. He holds in his hands a scroll and a pen and he looks off to the side. Painted on the wall where he stares are the visions that he saw and wrote down in the book of Revelation. Again, pretty cool.

Here is pictured the mosaic and the altar of repose (formally the high altar) at Saint Sebastian. It struck me as odd at first until reading about it a little more in depth. It is a picture of the Last Supper. The twelve disciples are gathered and Jesus stands at the back with the chalice in His hand. One might be inclined to think it odd to have a Last Supper portrayal without a table on which the supper is set. But there is one! The artist included the altar of sacrifice as the table around which, not only do the disciples gather but around which we gather. As we are not recreating or enacting a Last Supper but are present at the life death and resurrection of Our Lord – are present at THE Last Supper. This artistic endeavor makes for an outstanding theological statement – all done with symbols and art.

This is what can occur when artists are trained in sacred art, know their theology and life of the Church, when the Church acts as patroness of the arts and refuses simply to buy their “art” out of catalogues.

Need I say it again? Pretty cool.


Nan said...

There's no i in Ljubljana! France Prešeren is the poet. You must have Slovenes in your congregation!

Look for icons of The Apostles Communion and you'll see something similar; some versions have one Christ and are on one panel, others have two separate panels with Christ on each; first he gives his body to six apostles, on the other panel, blood to six others. In the fullness of the church, the first in line on the body side is St. Peter and first on blood side, though not historically accurate is St. Paul.

The focus is on the First Eucharist, rather than the Last Supper, as we're accustomed to seeing. Of course, you have Byzantine Catholics in the area as well.

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Cracked Pot said...

This information about interactive art is "news" to me, so thank you for the explanation. Having sat before our mosaic for many years, I had no idea that the artist was trying to draw us into the eucharist with this mural.