CMP Review 2023-04-30

CMP Review 2023-04-30

Readers of Charlotte Mason recognize John Ruskin as the author of “Mornings in Florence,” the book that illuminated the fresco in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, the fresco that is forever linked with Charlotte Mason’s “Great Recognition.” Ruskin was certainly qualified to write about art; he is widely held to be the leading art critic of the Victorian era.

How many great works of art did Ruskin behold in Florence and beyond? Across a gallery of galleries, Ruskin said that one painting was “for him the greatest work of sacred art ever produced.” Was it perhaps a glorious fresco? A renaissance masterpiece? A holy treasure in Rome?

No. It was Holman Hunt’s 1854 “The Light of the World,” now held in the chapel of Keble College. For Hunt, the work began with the lantern. “The windows and openings had to be carefully studied in relation to the rays they would emit from the central light,” he explained. Hunt wrote up a design and asked an artisan to craft it. The copper model still exists.

Aurélie Petiot explains that “the lantern … illuminates the door at which Christ has just knocked, thus symbolizing salvation.” This light is the subject of Charlotte Mason’s poem which we share today. Mason chose Holman’s painting to accompany this poem in her book. In the light of Holman’s carefully-crafted lantern, we see that the door can only be opened from inside. In her poem, Mason notes that some choose to keep their door closed. And so outside remains a lantern shining more brightly than the sun.

Read or hear it here.

source: The Pre-Raphaelites by Aurélie Petiot