On Roman Holy Days

The September 14 liturgical feast of the Triumph of the Cross celebrates a radical revolution in our approach to human debility. The lame, the disfigured, the abandoned are no longer burdens upon society’s limited resources, doomed to a frustrated existence. Instead, they can clutch the cross that recalls the one who knows their woes and gives meaning to their anguish. Continue Reading »

Hans Friedrich Grohs: From Bereavement to Benediction

He was born four years after Kaiser Wilhelm II ascended the German imperial throne; he died nearly a century later, in the same decade that witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. He was drafted as a soldier in both world wars and experienced firsthand the Nazi reign of terror in between. Few artists have lived so fully, or recorded so faithfully, such a vast sweep of human history. Continue Reading »

Click Fix

The camera-phone has inaugurated an era of therapeutic photography. It is a photography less concerned with producing photographs and more concerned with the act of taking a picture, the “click.” In Snapchat, the actual photo disappears after being taken and sent. It is the mode of most of our . . . . Continue Reading »

Brush with Greatness

Many Beautiful Things lives up to its title. With lush visuals from the English countryside, the deserts of North Africa, and the watercolors of its subject Lilias Trotter, the latest from filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson pleases the eye while asking questions of the heart. If Trotter’s name sounds . . . . Continue Reading »

The Jordanian Woman

First Things is pleased to announce the opening of ‘The Jordanian Woman (Die Frau ohne Schatten)’, an exhibition of paintings by Jörg Madlener. A private student of Otto Dix, Jörg Madlener has remained faithful throughout his long career to his original fascination for the human face. His latest series, ‘The Jordanian Woman (Die Frau ohne Schatten)’ is the fruit of the artist’s years in the Middle-East, an experience which led him to touch the human drama behind the political conflicts.
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​The Pieta of Joan of Arc

Fort Drum, home to the 10th Mountain Division and, until very recently, to my family, has recently provided something rather unusual for its soldiers: great art. It is a very refreshing development that one can now walk into the main entrance of the Main Post Chapel of this large military . . . . Continue Reading »

Celibacy in the City

The day after the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage this summer, I was in line for the Ferris Wheel with my three year old daughter. An insufficiently directive ride attendant left me confused as to which car to enter. Do we get our own? Do we pile in with strangers? Whatever our options might . . . . Continue Reading »

Say Not, “Modern Art is Bad”

This week in New York, the “One Faith: East and West” art exhibition is at the Catholic Center of NYU, after stops in Beijing and Moscow. The exhibition is a concrete expression of Christian unity, and the artists are from several different countries and confessions: Roman and Byzantine . . . . Continue Reading »