Thursday, February 9, 2017

EWTN's Register Radio

I recorded an interview with Jeanette DeMelo and Matthew Bunson for EWTN's Register Radio yesterday which will air this weekend on EWTN Radio (Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Central and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Central)--and will also be linked on the National Catholic Register home page.

We discussed my latest blog post for the Register: "Septuagesima, Shrovetide, and Pancakes":

The Super Bowl is over and the next great commercial social event is St. Valentine’s Day, but Easter candy is already sharing shelf space with Valentine’s candy in our stories. We are in a transitional time in our liturgical year too. Last Christmas seems a long time ago.

Before the reform of the liturgical calendar in late 1960’s, there was a name for this transitional time: Septuagesima. For three Sundays, the Church adopted a pre-Lenten period and in parishes where the Extraordinary Form is celebrated today, those Sundays are observed. The priest wears violet vestments, the Gloria is omitted, and the Tract replaces the Alleluia before the Gospel. The loss of the Alleluia, as the liturgical scholar Dom Gueranger explains, reminds us of our situation: “During the rest of the year [the Church] loves to hear us chant the song of heaven, the sweet Alleluia; but now, she bids us close our lips to this word of joy, because we are in Babylon . . . We are sinners, and have but too often held fellowship with the world of God's enemies; let us become purified by repentance . . .”

I like the image the Register chose for the post: Pieter Aertsen's "The Pancake Bakery" which depicts a family preparing Shrovetide pancakes for sale. According to the Rijkmuseum:

Although Pieter Aertsen (1508-1575), known as ‘Lange Pier’, came from Amsterdam, he lived in Antwerp for many years. After he returned in 1556, various Amsterdam churches, his principal patrons, commissioned Aertsen to make large altarpieces. Soon, however, he abandoned religious art and started to paint scenes from peasant life. He was known above all for his paintings of market scenes and kitchen tableaux, which contained an abundance of fruit, fish, poultry, cheese, bread and much besides. His younger cousin and pupil Joachim Bueckelaer also painted in the same genre and developed it further.

The Wikipedia article on this artist, however, provides greater context to his career:

Later in life, he also painted more conventional treatments of religious subjects, now mostly lost as during the iconoclasm of the beeldenstorm several paintings that had been commissioned for Catholic churches were destroyed. Several of his best works, including altarpieces in various churches in Amsterdam, were also destroyed during the days surrounding the event known as the Alteratie, or "Changeover", when Amsterdam formally reverted to Protestantism from Catholicism on 26 May 1578 at the start of the Eighty Years' War. One surviving religious work is the Crucifixion in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp.

Aertsen was a member of Antwerp's equivalent of the Accademia di San Luca. In the official books of the Academy he is known as "Langhe Peter, schilder" (Tall Peter, painter). His sons Pieter, Aert, and Dirk became acclaimed painters, and other notable pupils trained in his workshop included Stradanus and Aertsen's nephew, Joachim Beuckelaer, who continued to develop Aertsen's formula.

Aersten's exact formula of still life and genre figures in the foreground, with small scenes from history painting in the background only persisted for the next generation (or two, as Joachim Wtewael painted some similar works), but history paintings with very prominent and profuse still life elements in the foreground were produced by Rubens and his generation, and in the 17th century both Flemish Baroque painting and Dutch Golden Age painting developed important genres of independent still life subjects, which were just occasionally produced in Aertsen's day.

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