Ingres: that great French painter from the time and place that so clutches at my heart: Nineteenth Century Catholic France!
The Nineteenth Century. It is not so long ago. My grandfather was born in the Nineteenth Century. He even saw the Queen: Victoria, Monarch of the British Empire upon “which the sun never set” …
But Ingres belonged to Nineteenth Century Catholic France …
Such a completely different universe to the Protestant England of my Victorian Grandfather!
Yes such a different universe – also to the secular, materialistic wasteland that is France today.
Nineteenth Century France: a culture in which the great artists still honoured Our Lady, the Eucharist, St Joan of Arc …
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) was from Montauban. It is a place that has precious memories for my beloved and myself.
One can still feel Catholic France a little in Montauban, with its great Cathedral in the centre of the town.
Yes there was a time when my beloved and I went to Holy Mass in that vast space.
The French of the past would have filled it – this great Cathedral.
But now we were relegated to a little side chapel, with but a handful of the remaining faithful … Now like everywhere else, it is commerce which dominates the centre of Montauban.
France is no longer a different universe to Protestant England. She pioneered secularism. She succumbed to secular globalisation – global materialism. Yet her Cathedrals stand in testimony to what once was.
And there also in the Cathedral hangs the masterpiece of Ingres. The masterpiece which commemorates the fact that King Louis XIII once consecrated his realm, consecrated France to the Blessed Virgin. This is what we see high on the wall of Montauban Cathedral.
Ingres rendering the vow of King Louis offering his kingdom to the Virgin in Heaven …
Finally, I would appreciate any comments you might have. This entry, this new weblog Imago represents a new direction for this website and I am curious what you think.
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