Friday, 5 August 2011

Sister Wendy's interview with CNS

The following interview appears on the Catholic News Service website.

After decades of studying iconic paintings and hundreds of works of fine art, British art historian and author Sister Wendy Beckett said her two recently published books are her most explicitly Catholic works to date.

Sister Wendy, 81, a Carmelite, has simultaneously published "The Iconic Jesus," a study of icons of Christ's life, death and resurrection, and "The Art of the Saints," which reflects on the religious significance of the images of 16 saints. In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service July 28, Sister Wendy said the books are important personally because they mark the point when she speaks unashamedly as a Catholic.

"When I began writing many years ago, it was simply about art itself because I didn't want the people who never looked at art and thought it was beyond them to be deprived of such a wonderful gift given us by our artist brothers and sisters," she said. "And I never used religious language (so as) not to put off the atheists and the non-Christians. But I knew that if they really looked at art they would see it drew them to something greater than themselves, something beyond, something other, and that something is God," she explained. "They would be looking at God anonymously." After decades of studying and writing about art, Sister Wendy said she has "come out of the closet and now I can feel I can write about God in his own name." She said: "That is what I have done with these books. I write as a Catholic."