January 2008 - Vol. 15
The Art of Seeing
Madonna and Child by Bernardino Luini - 1480-1532

enhancing your spiritual vision – enriching your 
Christian faith

by Jeanne Kun

When the Word became flesh, the “invisible was made visible.” Thus, Christian art and sacred images traditionally have been a means of making the truths of our faith visual. In earlier times when few people could read, frescoes, stained-glass windows, and paintings “told” the stories of the Gospels and the Old Testament, making them alive and understandable before the viewer’s eye. Now, in a age when we are so constantly bombarded by images, we often ignore or have desensitized ourselves to the visual overload surrounding us – and have lost our ability to see what is before our eyes. “Seeing” is itself an art to be learned anew. 

Christ Cleansing the Temple by El Greco - 1541-1614
[A picture] has to be contemplated with the mind and heart. It has to be savored, played with, patiently and acutely analyzed, if it is to yield the food of its meaning. ..The contemplation of great pictures gives us a grateful sense of being well fed. We want to say some sort of grace.

       – John Drury, author of Painting the Word and The Burning Bush

"Noli Me Tangere" (Do Not Touch Me) by Titian, 1511-12
Artists in every age have offered the principal facts of the mystery of salvation to the contemplation and wonder of believers by presenting them in the splendour of color and in the perfection of beauty. A sacred image can express much more than what can be said in words, and be an extremely effective and dynamic way of communicating the Gospel message.
– Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI)
   Introduction to the Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Art of Seeing

is a presentation of full-color slides of Christian paintings, sacred images, and other works of art by renowned artists and great masters from the earliest of days of Christianity to the present, with accompanying inspirational and informative commentary by Jeanne Kun.

The Art of Seeing can be scheduled as a single presentation or as a series of two or more presentations, in a format ideal for parish evenings of inspiration, mornings of prayer, or days of reflection and recollection. Gospel scenes and works of art chosen to particularly correspond to the themes of Advent and Lent can enhance and enrich the celebration of these liturgical seasons in your parish or church.

Jeanne Kun holds a B.A. (magna cum laude) in History of Art (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA). She has presented lectures and seminars in parishes and schools, using art and sacred images to illustrate the life of Christ as well as Advent, Lenten, and Marian themes. She has also developed and led directed retreats (in the United States, Germany, Northern Ireland, Austria, and Israel), explaining paintings of Gospel events to invite retreat participants into reflection and prayer.

Jeanne also has more than twenty-five years' experience in the field of Catholic publishing as a graphic artist, editor, and writer. Currently a staff writer and editor for The Word Among Us Press, she is the author of the bestselling Bible study, My Soul Magnifies the Lord: A Scriptural Journey with Mary.Among the many other books she has written are My Lord and My God! A Scriptural Journey with the Followers of Jesus; God's Promises Fulfilled: A Scriptural Journey with Jesus the Messiah; Treasures Uncovered: The Parables of Jesus; Mighty in Power: The Miracles of Jesus; Exodus: God to the Rescue; In the Land I Have Shown You; Love Songs: Wisdom from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Even Unto Death: Wisdom from Modern Martyrs. Her poetry and inspirational articles on prayer, Scripture study, and practical Christian living have appeared in God's Word Today, Together in Christ, The Lamp, Faith and Renewal, WORD for the Christian Woman, and other Catholic magazines and journals.

Jeanne lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she is a member of Christ the King Catholic parish and Word of Life Community.

For information about scheduling The Art of Seeing in your parish for an evening of inspiration or day of prayer and recollection, please contact Jeanne Kun at: jeanne.kun@sbcglobal.net

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