I’m starting a new tag to talk about one of my favorite topics: #art history
This is closely associated with personal devotion and prayer for me (largely awakened by Nouwen’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son” and Sister Wendy Beckett’s many books on masterpieces and devotional observances).
I was reading through “Joy Lasts” this morning and I came across the image above (Masaccio, Saint Andrew, 1426). I don’t enjoy iconography much. It’s difficult to connect to. In fact, even the above image I have trouble with. But what I did like was the subtlety of Saint Andrew’s halo.
Normally, as Wikipedia notes1, halos, “represent light [that is] most often depicted as golden, yellow, white, or red when flames2 are depicted.” Masaccio’s version shows an almost invisible dignity and richness. It is not blinding. It is not delicate or alien. To me, it suggests the blessing and richness that comes from the walk and time spent with the King and Saviour.3