Wisdom on Wednesdays: Art and mysticism

“Our great art (the early Egyptian, ancient Greek, and Gothic European) is symbolic because it is the play of men who were alive to Reality, who were true mystics. Great art is an exact barometer and contemporary of religion—not religion as the popular historians record it, an exterior thing, the machine, the corporate thing alone, nor as the Puritan records it, the ‘inner light’ alone, an individual disease, but mysticism: the just balance between interior individual communion with God and corporate life in God.”  (1925)

Crucifixion - from Kathy Grim

Crucifixion, oil on canvas, c. 1930, 15 x 18 in. This work was purchased by Mrs. Nicholas Brady, one of the wealthiest and most prominent lay Catholics in America in the 1920s and 30s.  She commissioned a portrait of herself from Schmitt to hang in her palatial residence on Long Island, named Inisfada, one of the largest in America.  Her husband, who died in 1930, was on the boards of Westinghouse, New York Edison, Chrysler, and many other large corporations.  When she built a novitiate house for the Jesuits in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, in memory of her husband, this painting was among the many works of art she gave to the house.  It still hangs there today along with another larger crucifixion by Schmitt.

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