30 September 2022


'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.' Michelangelo

If ever there is a testament to a work of art it is when it makes the digital dystopia (and the devices associated with it) evaporate into the ether.

My first glimpse of the late Saxon stone carving of Christ in Majesty loosened my grip on the device in my hand and reminded me that Apple had been a temptation since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

There comes to certain artists a time in their lives where the culmination of their life's work is caught up in a single piece. Think of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa or Michelangelo's David. The Christ in Majesty at Barnack is another such piece.

I've read about the golden section and Fibonacci's principal, the rule of thirds and the negative space over the positive. This piece encapsulates that and more. There is a sense that the belief, the artist, the society, the material and the line has resolved itself into this single piece.

Indeed, it's difficult for the eye to leave the orchestrated geometry. There is nowhere for observation to bleed out. It's in this eternal gaze that it seems to encapsulate all faiths and not one, with a humility that is emphasised by the hands, feet and bowl of the belly.

I came away from the sculpture feeling elevated and grateful that I've been able to sink back into a way of seeing that needs no screen or scroll.

I'm reminded of the words of Robin Wall Kimmerer when talking of her observation of moss:

" With sophisticated technology, we strive to see what is beyond us, but are often blind to the myriad sparkling facets that lie so close at hand. We think we're seeing when we've only scratched the surface. Our acuity at the middle scale seems diminished, not by any failing of the eyes, but by the willingness of the mind. Has the power of our devices led us to distrust our unaided eyes? Or have we become dismissive of what takes no technology but only time and patience to perceive? Attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens."

Robin Wall Kimmerer: Gathering Moss.

View next entry:

A Year in the life: 20 October 2022
I notice another map - this time it holds a different set of boundaries. There’s one that encompasses large scathes of England like a blood red stain. This is a map of Anglo-Saxon Britain and the blood red stain is that of Danelaw.

More about this Digest:

From Breakdown to New Vocation: My Genius Loci Digest Journey
In the late 1990’s I had a breakdown that ultimately led me, through a journey that took me away from depression, to a new career in photography. But what was the spark that ignited my journey?

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