9 June 2008

Don't Quite Know What to Make of This One

But for the most part I'm with Jeff on this one. This is a brand new Monstrance, just unveiled:

The story of the new Monstrance can be found here, along with many details, such as its size: it is nine feet tall.

The details of the work are designed to invoke Mary as the true Ark of the Covenant, the true Bearer of God's Word. From my examination of the picture, I can say the craftsmanship is exquisite. Much time and skill has been put into creating this, even though I don't find it particularly... appealing.

The word Monstrance comes from the same root as demonstrate. It is also the same root that names the "Montre" rank of pipes on the pipe organ. those pipes have that name because they are generally the pipes at the front of the organ case, the ones that may be seen. All the derivative words mean "to show" or "to put on display". This is where the monstrance gets its name: It is there to display the Host. It should draw attention to the Host, more than to itself- though commonly they are quite often distracting. This one, however, takes the distraction to the next level.

A host to be noticeable on a nine foot high statue would have to be the size of a car tire. Anything less would be lost in the work. What this work seems to display above all is itself, and as such it is a failure, in my humble opinion.

So if I were forced to make something of this, were I required to call it something, I'd call it a "mulligan". A mulligan is a golf term. It's when someone hits a bad shot, and their opponent tels them drop a new ball and take the shot over, no penalty. It's a first try, take another. The work is excellent, so the artist has considerable skill. Hand him another pile of wood with a wink and say: "Nice try there, kid. Have another go."

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