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SISTER WENDY’S ODYSSEY By: Sister Wendy Beckett March 14, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     The Lycan Librarian stumbled across this selection in the non-fiction section of the Moonlit Library, and felt compelled to share it, even though it is a 1998 book. Sister Wendy is such a wonderful gift to this world. Her descriptions of art reflects not only the works’ beauty, but also the magic and art of  perfectly chosen words. In this book, she has chosen to compile art from six smaller museums, rather than from the largest and best known, so she could show that “there is equally great art in unexpected places.”  Her delightful commentary  is accompanied by clear, full paged pictures of the artwork she critiques (as is the case with most, if not all, of her books.) This selection is especially interesting as she shares the work of some of the world’s great, but lesser known and celebrated artists.
     This insightful, and now frail looking Notre Dame nun is a lifelong art lover, but began to devote herself to the subject in 1980. Ever since, she has enlightened us with her passion and stunning, profound descriptions. In describing the painting of an artist she doesn’t particularly care for, she states, “If only my intellect responds to Hockney, not my heart, that is my own deficiency, not the artist’s.”
     She knows art, inside and out, evidenced by her sage words regarding the passion needed to create great art, “intention is not enough to carry a work to a triumphant conclusion,” and one is forced to marvel at the energy and emotion she puts into her dissertation. She is not prudish, for she can describe a scene between lovers, a woman’s breast or a thatch of public hair with as much fervor and respect as she does a beautiful religious scene. Be prepared to expect anything and everything from her, because that is what she delivers.
     Sister Wendy has numerous books and DVDs available to buy, or borrow from your local library, and each is a glorious treasure given to us straight from this generous Sister’s heart. With her profound and lovely words, Sister Wendy teaches us love: love of the completed works of art, of the artists, of their subjects, of their themes, and of this world in which all of the above exist. I will close with one last quote from this art scholar, a quote about the effect viewing a piece of art has on us, about how the beauty or harshness of a work can change us forever. “We have been enlarged in our own being by receiving the blessing of another’s.”

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