The National Catholic Review


  • January 5-12, 2015

    The mother and child cuddle, both asleep, her cheek resting on his head. It’s easy to imagine the child’s rhythmic breathing, the softness of his hair on her face, the weight of his warm body in her arms. The painting is an early Caravaggio. For what it lacks in the severe chiaroscuro that became the artist’s signature style, “Rest on the Flight Into Egypt” (1594-96) compensates with the realistic emotion portrayed by its subjects. While Mary and Jesus sleep...

  • December 8-15, 2014

    In honor of the 400th anniversary of the death of the great Spanish master El Greco, significant exhibitions have been held over the past year in Spain, London and the United States. In August, the Frick Collection mounted a stunning, two-painting mini-exhibition, “Men in Armor,” that paired the Frick’s “Vincenzo Anastagi” and Scipione Pulzone’s “Portrait of Jacopo Boncompagni.” The National Gallery of Art in Washington, which owns seven significant El...

  • A precious manuscript teaches us not only by its words and images but by its very life as an historical object. A prime example is the Crusader Bible, which is briefly being displayed with its leaves untypically separated before being rebound at its home in New York City’s Morgan Library. (The exhibition will live beyond its close on Jan.

  • November 17, 2014

    Walk into the exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, and you find yourself surrounded by more than a hundred images that dance and sing, swim and squirm—not to mention the lithe contortions of the acrobats and the antics of the circus performers. Composed of paper shapes set out in ravishing color combinations, Matisse’s cut-outs, on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City through Feb. 8, 2015, are stunningly lyrical and uplifting.

  • The history of the Jesuits in America is largely a story of movement—one of crossing first an ocean, then lakes and rivers and ultimately traversing ethnic, linguistic and ideological boundaries. Those journeys ended with a series of dwelling places where both the mind and spirit could expand. It is a story exquisitely told in a new exhibit at the Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago called ...

  • July 21-28, 2014

    The great trinity of major postwar German artists is generally reckoned to include Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Sigmar Polke, who all wound up studying at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where Joseph Beuys was the presiding shamanistic presence. The three might well be named elegance, agony and experiment.

  • May 26-June 2, 2014

    In 1959, Pope John XXIII redesignated the Diocese of Galveston as the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, and elevated Houston’s Sacred Heart parish to the unusual status of co-cathedral, shared with the St. Mary cathedral basilica in Galveston. As the population of Houston boomed, more than doubling in the second half of the 20th century, the diocese outgrew the space, and in 2002 Pope John Paul II approved the design of a new co-cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

  • May 12, 2014

    Whether you have lived in Paris or just visited, read about Papa and Scott and Zelda, Josephine Baker clad only in bananas or Gertrude Stein armed only with words, created your image by seeing Audrey Hepburn (sigh) in “Funny Face” and “Charade” or perhaps more recently dreamed with Woody Allen of “Midnight in Paris,” the capital of romance universally entrances. Rome is eternal. London is grand. But Paris is like a first love, real or imagined—and never...

  • His parents were horrible people. He was sickly all his life, dying eventually of an excruciating bladder cancer at only 48. His emotional life was often ungovernable. His at first rapturous marriage to a beautiful young aristocrat far above his station was plagued by suspicion, jealousy and outright brutality. And he was frequently defrauded by his most prominent patrons.

  • April 21, 2014

    The sumptuous colors, dazzling brushwork and sheer drama in the paintings of Anders Zorn (1860-1920) earned the Swedish artist fortune and fame during the Gilded Age. But Zorn’s work and name gradually fell into obscurity outside Sweden. As a result, his brilliant body of work has not been shown in the United States for 100 years—until now.