Tag Archives: art

Hubble Glass

21 Apr

I love Catholic Churches, and I’ve often said that as a poet, I couldn’t have been raised in a better religion.  Iconography, mysteries, martyred saints, the whole lot have at one time or another weaved their way into my writing.  This afternoon, my mom and I took a trip to visit St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Naussau Bay, TX to have a look at the gorgeous stained glass and visit the bookstore on site (yes, this grand church has a wonderful religious bookstore on site, at which I bought a biography of St. Theresa of Avila and a lovely silver Celtic cross for my house).


I wasn’t prepared for the stained glass.  I expected the usual doves, corpus, angels.  This stained glass, however, was different.  A little background about the area: this church is literally down the street from NASA.  As such, the stained glass displays images of space taken from NASA-donated images taken from the Hubble.  Yes: Catholic Church + Science.  The result? Breathtaking.  Take a look:





I wish this image was bigger, but I took it with the camera on my phone.  I didn’t bring a “real” camera with me, as I wasn’t really expecting such beauty.  This photo doesn’t do the colors (or size) justice.  In the panels on either size of the center are angels amid images from the Hubble.  Images of, if you will, the heavens.   Another view:




On the right side of the church is a grotto.  Inside the grotto is a statue of Mary and behind the statue are stained glass panels, each one depicting her life from Annunciation to Assumption.  It’s quite beautiful:



Even if you aren’t religious, the story of how this stained glass came to be and how beautifully it is rendered is enough to make you go take a look.  St. Paul’s has posted some better images here, and there was a write-up in the Houston Chronicle about this church.  I love how special this church is to the region.  I love that at least in one place, and in such a wondrous way, science and faith have come together.


14 May

I went to see the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art exhibit at the MFAH this afternoon.  I adore the Impressionists and post-Impressionists and I’ve been wanting to go to this exhibit for a while, now.

There were so many pieces that left me in awe: Van Gogh’s Roses, in particular.  I know many people came to see his self-portrait, 1889, which, of course, I too was drawn to, but Roses really captivated me.  Here’s what the National Gallery says about Roses:

Roses was painted shortly before Van Gogh’s release from the asylum at St.-Rémy. He felt he was coming to terms with his illness—and himself. In this healing process, painting was all-important. In those final three weeks, he wrote Theo, he “worked as in a frenzy. Great bunches of flowers, violet irises, big bouquets of roses . . . ”

I loved the MFAH’s cell-phone guides, which is a process by which you call in to listen to a pre-recorded mini-lecture about the various pieces.  I wish I had brought my little notebook with me to write down the titles of the works, but I made do by (this, I know, is quite ridiculous) texting myself the information instead.

Other pieces I loved: Pissarro’s Place due Carrousel, Paris, Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, 1889, Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge, 1889, and in particular:

Manet’s Plum Brandy

In Plum Brandy, I love the contrast in colors: the pink dress the woman is wearing against the darker colors of the cafe and burgundy banquette.  I love how this is a cityscape without being a true cityscape.  I love her look: distant, yet observant, so in thought that she leaves both her brandy and her cigarette untouched.

This collection showcases the work of Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and others.  The exhibit closes on May 23 and I highly recommend this for everyone (except small children).  One thing I’ve noticed is how some people seem to think an art exhibit is a place for loud small-talk with friends.  Please do everyone a favor and just look.  Listen to the work.  Talk about it later with your friends over a glass of wine or a good meal.