The National Catholic Review


  • October 12, 2015

    When Pope Francis presided at Mass at Nu Guazu Park in Paragauy in July, he stood in front of a 72-foot-tall, 131-foot-wide corn altar. To create the unique altarpiece, the Paraguayan artist Koki Ruiz used 32,000 corncobs, 200,000 baby coconuts, 1,000 squashes, 771 pounds of seeds and grains—and an overwhelming dose of faith.

  • August 31-September 7, 2015

    In November 1941, just before Edith Halpert exhibited Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration of the Negro” at her Downtown Gallery in Manhattan, Fortune magazine published 26 of the 60 panels in the series. With a limited palette of brilliantly saturated colors and in an abstracted, expressionistic style, the relatively small panels (12 in.

  • July 6-13, 2015

    In the delicate, radiant medium of watercolor, light can be part of the scene itself, as in Winslow Homer’s paintings of fishermen in the Adirondacks or wind-tossed palm trees in the Bahamas. It can contrast the warmth of a woodland scene by John Singer Sargent with the magic of his Venetian street scenes. In Edward Hopper’s vision of isolation and loneliness in American life, light becomes integral at once to the immediacy and the distance that throbs...

  • April 27, 2015

    “Sculpture from the Age of Donatello” is like a dream from the dawn of the Renaissance now realized at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City.

  • 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.