The special powers of sacred spaces

Unlocking the Church: The lost secrets of Victorian space by William Whyte (Oxford University Press, £18.99) In the past Christianity poured a great deal of art, energy and money into buildings. So much so that the cathedrals of the middle ages have come in a special way to symbolise for many the very nature of the…

Lively scenes from pre-Famine Cork

Daniel MacDonald Painting and Pencillings Cork 1843-1844 (Exhibition at the Gorry Gallery; catalogue from Gorry Gallery, 20 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2) In the Lion’s Den: Daniel MacDonald, Ireland and Empire by Niamh O’Sullivan (Cork University Press, €20.00) The exhibition of Daniel MacDonald works recently at the Gorry Gallery in Dublin was the first time that the…

Chinese Catholics — images of a fervent faith

The Poor in Spirit by Yang Yakang (Unicorn Publishing, £30.00) This is an impressive album of reportage on the Catholics of the Patriotic Catholic Church in China, running to 168 pages with 70 images. The artist’s work bears comparison with the great masters of this genre, Walker Evans, Cartier-Bresson, Werner Bischof, George Rodger, and Marc…

Fasting and fish eating in Lent

Mainly About Books By the books editor   It is a truism to say that Lent these days is nothing like it was several centuries ago, indeed just several decades ago. In our era of immediate self-satisfaction the idea of going without is unpopular, unless one is on a fashionable diet. In the middle ages…

A saint for our times…and the future?

Pedro Aruppe SJ: Mystic with Open Eyes by Brian Grogan SJ, with an introduction by Peter McVerry SJ (Messenger Publications, €4.95) The cause of beatification of Fr Pedro Arrupe, the historical Superior General of the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983, is now official. In a letter to the Jesuits at large, the current superior Fr Artuso…

The many little shrines of Ireland

Mainly About Books by the Books Editor   We are all aware of the major shrines of Ireland, and of the customs associated with them: Knock, Croagh Patrick and Lough Derg are part of Irish culture. Then there are the holy wells, and the little places associated with more local saints, well favoured across a…

A neglected tradition in Irish art

Making their Mark: Irish Painter-Etchers 1880-1930 an exhibition curated by Anne Hodge (NGI) and Dr Angela Griffith (TCD) National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin – runs to 30 June 2019. Admission free. A current exhibition at the NGI explores an almost forgotten aspect of modern Irish art, the activities of a small but influential…