Friday, February 12
Harry Clarke and Lourdes (I)
This is not the image I was thinking of (which I will post later), but I discovered the workshop of the illustrator and stained-glass designer Harry Clarke did a rather fine bit of stained glass of the apparition. This particular work was actually done by Joshua Clarke, his father, and is not quite as stylistically extreme as much of Harry's work, but nonetheless manages to work in a more conventional late 19th century style without by any means appearing stale. It is really quite wonderful, and the additon of the Lourdes procession in the right-hand light is a highly imaginative addition to the usual imagery associated with the event. One should also note the subtle pose of the Virgin herself, with her weight shifted carefully onto one foot, giving her iconic frontality a swaying, airy quality (though the turn of the other foot is somewhat troubling anatomically); the face is soulful without appearing stereotyped. It is good to see subjects like this can be treated without appearing, as one seminarian recently described it to me, like robes with hands and feet indifferently applied.
(Image source: Photo by Andreas F. Borchert, 14 September 2009 and published at Wikimedia Commons on 15 November 2009. This is a copyrighted photograph which is available under multiple free licenses.)