Category: Art

Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along: Illustrations by Émile Bayard

When Les Misérables was first published in 1862, it was illustrated by Émile Bayard, whose rendering of little Cosette perfectly captures the essence of what Hugo means by les misérables. To me it’s mostly in the eyes and the tiny mouth, but the massive broom in her hands as she sweeps adds to the sadness. Bayard’s image of Cosette’s face is known the world over, thanks to the Cameron Mackintosh musical, as it was adapted and used in countless promotional posters, advertisements, album covers–almost anything connected with the musical. But...


Visual Literature: With a Piece of Chalk

I am constantly amazed at the ability of the human race to create art that inspires and moves. If literature is “writing that treats human concerns thoughtfully,” then the following short film is visual literature. I’m looking forward to sharing this with my students this coming school year.

Catholic Imagination

Andrew Greeley on the Catholic Imagination

Recently I read Andrew Greeley’s The Catholic Imagination (2001, University of California Press) and was fascinated by his research into the way Catholicism affects one’s world view and creativity. I’ve collected some of the more interesting and provocative quotes below: After several pages of statistical analysis, Greeley concludes: Catholics are more interested in the fine arts than Protestants, and those Catholics who go to church regularly are the most likely to be interested in the fine arts. Catholics are more interested in the fine arts because they have more graceful...

Beauty by John O'Donohue

Emptiness that Haunts the Heart: A Caution for the Digital Age

Is the digital age making it more difficult for us to recognize, appreciate and encounter beauty? Traditionally, journey was a rhythm of three forces: time, self and space. Now the digital virus has truncated time and space. Marooned on each instant, we have forfeited the practice of patience, the attention to emergence and delight in the Eros of discovery. The self has become anxious for what the next instant might bring. This greed for destination obliterates the journey. The digital desire for the single instant schools the mind...

Master and Commander book covers

Geoff Hunt, Master Painter and O’Brian Cover Artist

This week’s cover artist is Geoff Hunt, the master painter behind Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin nautical series. Take a look at the following two covers for a good example of how much impact a cover can make. The image on the left is from the first edition of Master and Commander, and the second image is Geoff Hunt’s painting for the same book: To me there is no comparison. I’m no art critic, but I know what I like. And I love Geoff Hunt’s covers. Hunt painted the covers...

Cover Artist Feature – Michael Whelan

Yesterday I wrote about how important book covers are to me, and this week’s featured artist is Michael Whelan. If you’ve read with any depth in the science fiction/fantasy genre then you probably already know his work. From Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series to Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, Michael Whelan has been illustrating fantasy novels for over twenty-four years. He has won the Hugo award an amazing fourteen times. The biography on his official website includes Whelan’s artistic statement which, interestingly enough, is a quote by renowned Catholic author...

Foundation Trilogy Cover

Book Covers and the Imagination

While you can’t judge a book by its cover, a beautiful cover makes a book all the more enjoyable. During the next few weeks I am going to be featuring some great book cover artists. I don’t know about you, but when I try to picture what I’m reading, I find that the cover of a book often provides the color palette that my imagination uses to form the pictures. For instance, I have a very hard time reading science fiction paperbacks from the 1960s with those washed-out,...