Behind every great work of art there are patrons. Often in medieval art, you can see the patrons tucked away in the corner of the picture, but included in it. Michaelangelo's great frescos in the Sistine Chapel, Bernini's colonnade in St Peter's Square, all the great churches and cathedrals of the world. They all came together out of the generosity of many benefactors.
Here at Lancaster University we have the possibility of contributing something of significant beauty to the patrimony of the Chaplaincy Centre, the University and the City of Lancaster. Aidan Hart is a world-acclaimed iconographer and will lead a team in the early new year of 2017 to create a vast secco painting, 4m by 10m, of the Transfiguration of Christ, in the Catholic Chapel.
Hundreds of students pass through the Chaplaincy Centre each week for all sorts of different reasons, passing directly by our chapel. We hope to create something beautiful that can be enjoyed by all students, whether they are people of faith or not. 'Beauty opens up and broadens horizons of human awareness', writes Pope Benedict, 'pointing us beyond ourselves, bringing us face to face with the abyss of Infinity, and can become a path towards the transcendent, towards the ultimate mystery, towards God'.
The story of the Transfiguration is so resonant for a university: Christ is leading his disciples up the mountain, he is transfigured with light, revealing the divine truth of who He is, and He is seen speaking face to face with Moses and Elijah. The story draws together all the mysteries of the Christian faith, uniting Heaven and Earth in the person of Christ, and revealing to us our ultimate end to see God face to face. The hope is that the secco will be painted with such beauty that those who behold the image will be drawn into the experience itself.
We are delighted to have commissioned iconographer and painter, Aidan Hart, to do this work. Aidan has studied his field in Britain and Russia and lived on Mt Athos in Greece for three years. Well known overseas as well as in the UK, he has worked in 17 countries and in many cathedrals. We are blessed to have secured his enthusiasm for the project.
Can you help? We are looking to fundraise for this project. We believe that this is a great investment that will benefit all who come to this university chapel for many years, providing a lasting impact upon the students and staff. We invite you to please prayerfully consider making a financial contribution towards the effort. Blessed Paul VI wrote, 'This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart, and is that precious fruit which resits the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration'.
Please check out our MyDonate page (search for 'Catholic Chaplaincy at Lancaster University) or support Fr Philip's Half Marathon for the cause on MyDonate Events Page, Catholic Chaplaincy at Lancaster University. Thank you for your generosity.