Craft, Faith And Narrative - Poem by gershon hepner
Craft, faith and narrative all fuse,
creating medieval art;
if you add the inspiration of the muse
you get the Bible. À la carte,
it serves you narratives and laws and psalms
created with both faith and craft,
but ultimately it’s the muses’ charms
that turn the inspiration’s draft
into a record of encounters made
with God by people searching for
a destiny that they cannot evade
by writing, their esprit de corps.
Its manuscript is not illum-
inated, since it comes from ages
that though dark became the wonderwomb
whose generations are its pages.
Roberta Smith writes about the renovation of the medieval galleries in the Metropolitan Museum (“Illuminating the Dark Ages, ” NYT, December 5,2008) :
Of the three great artistic histories that extend for many centuries, and galleries, from the Great Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Byzantine-Medieval epic is the most discreet. The Egyptian and the Greek and Roman wings are signaled by highly visible statues and tombs that start waving hello almost before you clear security. In contrast, the story of art starting in Bronze-Age Europe lies mostly out of sight in galleries that lie beside and behind the Grand Staircase…. As part of the Met’s original, central structure, the new Medieval Art gallery has always been a heavily trafficked intersection. It shouldn’t really work as a gallery of sacred art and yet it does. Its many small objects draw you close, away from the bustle, into a realm where craft, faith and narrative were
© 2008 Gershon Hepner 12/5/08
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