Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fine Art Friday

"The Angelus" (1857)
Jean Francois Millet

Isn't this a peaceful painting? I wondered why it was titled "The Angelus" and found that originally, Millet had titled it "Prayer for the Potato Crop." But in 1859, when the painting was sold and the owner failed to take posseession, Millet added the steeple in the background and changed the title to "The Angelus."

Evidently, the title refers to the ringing of the Angelus bells from that newly added and distant steeple. In France, the Angelus was a toll for peace, and hearers would pause to pray. The painting seems to confirm that.

Let me tell you how I came across this painting. Last week when I reviewed the book Peril and Peace, I spent some time at author Mindy Withrow's Literary Review blog. She reviewed the book The Short Day Dying by Peter Hobbs (here and here). The cover art for the book is "The Angelus," although I did not know that then. I only knew I loved the painting, and was quickly judging a book by its cover.

I was on a hunt. I had to find out what the painting was or if it was even a historical masterpiece. The more I read Mindy's review of the book, the more I wanted to add it to my list. I ordered the book (library didn't have it) and halfway thought that if the artwork was historical, there would be some reference to it within the book. The book arrived, but the only reference to the cover art attributed to Art Resource, New York.

Thanks to Google and a few chosen search words at the Art Resource site (landscape, couple, praying) and voila! "The Angelus."

I look forward to enjoying The Short Day Dying and looking for "The Angelus" print. My, the twists and turns of this Fine Art Friday!


Mindy said...

Thanks for tracking down this history, Janie. The painting is what first drew me to read the book, and it turned out to be one of the most significant books I've read it a long time. Hope you enjoy it--and that you'll contribute to the comments on it at my blog.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Janie! We are two peas in a pod! What a wonderful story. Millet is one of my dear friend's favorite.

The intersections of learning are so much fun, aren't they? For instance, we just read "The Nine Tailors," a Dorothy Sayers mystery where bells play a great role. So your part about the Angelus bell makes sense to me this week, when it would only be a vague thought last week.

Do you *EVEN* know how much you influence my reading list? Thanks for blogging in the midst of your busy schedule. Thanks for reading, thinking and learning. (Hugs)

Patty in WA or Rover said...

The Angelus is prayed daily by devout Catholics. It is a reminder of the Angel appearing to Mary and her submission to the will of God.

The Angelus is traditionally recited morning (6:00 a.m.), noon and evening (6:00 p.m.) throughout the year except during Paschal time, when the Regina Coeli is recited instead.

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, etc.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.

V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.