SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Rembrandt van Rijn
1633
Whereabouts unknown since 1990

The artist captures the moment when the boat caught in the storm is about to run aground. Huge waves beat the bow and rip the sail. Nature is pitched against human frailty.

The panic-stricken disciples struggle through a variety of reactions. Some fight to gain control while others succumb to the sea’s violence. Still, others are sick, afraid, angry, resigned, retching, praying, lost, and desperate.

Interestingly there are fourteen men aboard. Rembrandt painted himself at the centre, mirroring the viewer. Isn’t it is easy to recognize ourselves in this story, juggling through different emotions in our turbulent storm? Vulnerable and overwhelmed we cry out, ‘We are perishing’ and Jesus reminds us again, ‘Do not be afraid.’ Jesus is in our boat and that’s all we will ever need.

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Mango Custard  (for beginners) 

Take four tablespoons of custard powder and mix it in 1/2 cup of room temperature milk. Mix this well with a whisk until it is smooth. ensure there are no lumps. In a thick bottom pan add 11/2 cup of milk. To this add 1/3 cup of sugar and bring it boil. Stir occasionally to ensure that the sugar is well dissolved. Turn the flam low and add the custard mixture while stirring continuously. Cook for two to three minutes on a low head and ensure that the mixture is smooth and has no lumps. Take this off the fire and add a cup of thick mango puree. Now place this back on fire and cook for a minute scraping the sides of the pan.  Pour this mixture into serving bowls or small glass jars. Refrigerate till it has set. Top with chunks of mango and mint leaves

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SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

The Raising of Lazarus
Giotto
1304 – 1306
Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

The painting illustrates the famous miracle of life. Two groups huddle on either side. The group to our right seeks life, while the one to our left represents the Giver of life. Mary and Martha serve as a prayerful bridge between the two groups.
The artist reveals human emotions through facial expressions. Notice the man dressed in green. While he raises his right hand in request towards Christ, he turns in astonishment to face the miracle behind him.
At the call of Christ, Lazarus, wrapped in a shroud, walks out. The women closest to the grave shelter their noses from the stench of death. Through this the artist conveys that death can never have the last word because Love is always stronger than death.

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SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

The Annunciation
Henry Ossawa Tanner
1898
Philadelphia Museum of Art

The artist presents a unique representation of the Annunciation. In the intimacy of a chamber, a simple Jewish peasant girl encounters the Divine. The angel takes the form of light. Notice how the vertical beam intersects with the horizontal shelf to form a cross, foreshadowing the crucifixion.
The warm light enlightens Mary’s being. The Virgin wears no halo. Her hands are clasped in humility, her head tilted upwards and her eyes are focused. She is receptive to the will of God.
As fear is replaced by contemplation, and contemplation evolves into acceptance, heaven holds its breath. Mary says yes, and in this yes, are sown the seeds of our salvation.

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SACRED ART IN 100 WORDS

The Last Supper
Leonardo da Vinci
1495 – 1498
Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Here is the most timeless image in art history. A large table dominates the scene with Christ at the center. Two groups of three apostles each sit on either side. The painting captures two moments – the reaction to the imminent Betrayal and the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

To our left notice, Peter holds a knife. It foretells his attempt that night to slice the ear of Malchus, the high priest slave. Next to him, a distracted Judas reaches for the same bowl as Jesus. Significantly the artist captures their reaction to their betrayal. While Peter moves towards Jesus, Judas pulls away.

Amidst this chaos, the self-giving posture of Christ symbolizes the Holy Trinity. God’s love is beyond betrayal. It is Eternal. The artist invites us to partake in this Love.

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