September 16, 2010

Fr. Rutler's Paintings

I was going to save this link from the New Liturgical Movement for my clippings post tomorrow, but I kept thinking about these paintings, so I knew they deserved a full post.  The wonderful preacher, lover of hymns, writer, and pastor, Fr. George Rutler, is also a painter.  And a fine one, too.  It is one of his "hobbies" or, "intensities", as he likes to call them: 

Homage to Van Gogh
I’d rather call hobbies “intensities” for the sake of a better word, since priests these days have scarce time for pastimes. I prefer “intensities” because doing something for diversion, increases concentration and actually makes one more productive, as with all-important prayer.

Still Life After I Ate the Pear

...Now, like a loving father who would never think of selling his own children unless they were unsatisfactory, I tend to keep them. No canvass is ever finished. There is a sermon in that. 

New Marlborough, Massachusetts

Clearly in these there is excellent form and composition. I love the way he captures daylight, especially in the one immediately above.  And he is very aware of what has come before, of the tradition; his "Homage to Van Gogh" is both clearly his own, and in a much more classical style than even Van Gogh's early work, yet, is it also clearly in homage to Van Gogh.

There is also great wit in his paintings--for example in the still life which is entitled "Still Life After I Ate the Pear"--we can see exactly where the pear would have sat.  But we don't miss it either.  I love a painting that is aware of itself.

Of course, two of the best ways to describe Fr. Rutler are: "witty" and "self-aware"--and I mean those as the highest compliments. In the brief introduction to these paintings he also discusses his other "intensities" (sports and music):
I had an African trainer for a while, but he was loathe to punch a priest since there is a superstition against that in his native Ghana, unlike in our own country. I overestimated myself not long ago in an encounter with a man stealing from my church’s Poor Box. When he lunged at me, I let him have it, since I did not have enough time to turn my cheek. But he did not feel himself bound by the Marquis of Queensbury, and he knocked me out for a short period.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Fr. Rutler, perhaps the best dinner guest on all of the East Coast! I remember the story about the African trainer, but never heard the bit about the Poor Box lol. The paintings are beautiful, where did you find the pictures of them? (it's Catherine Callaghan btw)