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David Archives - St. Stephen's University

Meeting the thin places

By | 2011, Europe | No Comments

Fences, guard rails, glass and alarms surround all of the places that I see. For a while that bothered me, as these great achievements of architecture and historical monuments are trampled over and captured in a photo, lost on a shelf or a hard drive. I see people running past beautiful art and sculptures, and yet in a way I do the same. A quickly materializing theme for me, as of late, is to find the value in the ‘?thin places,’ as Gregg would call them, but amidst the hustle and bustle I have found it hard to find peace in which to do so. Until I spent a day in St. Peter’s Basilica  in the Vatican, surprisingly enough I found great peace there, even after having been shooed away by picture takers and tour guides. I wonder though, as I view the Pieta or the David with a headphone in my ear, how am I receiving the history?

JB

celeberity like star struck awe

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

In this short time since our departure we have seen Spain, France and Italy. Our travels have taken us to many museums, basilicas and to view beautiful architecture, but I find myself having trouble keeping track of which country Michelangelo’s “David” was in, or Dalai’s “Persistence of Memory”, because it is all happening so fast.  I know for sure I am still in Italy because I am never hungry, I find myself with at least a second serving of gelato by noon and you can find wine for 1 Euro at the grocery store. Bottom line, I never want to leave. Regardless of what country we find ourselves in there is always plenty of art (and food) to be inspired by. I’m constantly finding myself in a celebrity like star struck awe when I come across a well known piece of art that I have seen many times in a textbook, now staring me in the face. A few have given me chills and caused me to pause longer to take in what I thought I would never see in “real life”.  Among these pieces of art I found myself taking extra time with Donatello’s Mary  Magdalene statue. Even now, days later I cannot get this image out of my mind. She seemed worn out and used in every way possible, it broke my heart how sad she looked. It got me thinking about her story and her own sense of value. I would imagine that the culture and church during her time was less than inviting to someone of her profession. It made me wonder if she ever felt loved. It’s always the story behind the art that causes me to pause and think of the lives of the characters or the painter. Now that I have seen Donatello’s “Mary Magdalene” and was deeply impacted by her body language and expression, I will remember her story. I cannot wait to see more inspiring pieces of art, we have plenty of countries ahead of us and with those come new characters, artists and stories to learn about.

Cara Lehocki

Taste and See

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

Traveling well has proved to be harder than it seems.

Perhaps it doesn’t help that, in all the places we have visited so far, there have been a distressing number of ‘typical’ tourists who often value a quick snapshot over the experience of the moment itself. Two and a half weeks into this trip, I am already finding the need to exhort great energy in my attempt to experience Europe in a tangible and lasting way.

Learning to separate myself from the rushed touristic mentality has probably been the biggest challenge for me so far. How to appreciate a work of art, or the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum with intentional integrity. How to see ‘The David’ as beautiful, not simply because Michelangelo made it or because it is a world-renowned piece of art– but rather because I allow it to touch me personally.

Some of my favourite pieces and sights so far have been those that the general public does not generally hear about in textbooks or travel guides.

The humble voices of a Spanish boys’ choir.

A Florentine plaster of a woman in mourning.

A depiction of Mary Magdalene from the Vatican, with eyes sore and red from crying at the death of her Saviour.

Having a conversation with the woman begging outside of a French basilica.

These things, these moments that you don’t see in travel guides because they are not substantial enough to be mentioned. These are the things that move me. By seeking them out, I am doing what I can to be more than a tourist passing through, striving instead to ‘taste and see’ the beauty and depth of  what is around  me.