Wallace Holy Water Font, Ss Peter and Paul’s Church, Clonmel

Wallace Holy Water Font, Ss Peter and Paul’s Church, Clonmel

“Designed, sculpted Presented J Wallace Clonmel January 1853” is inscribed on this HOly Water Font located in the narthex (fancy word for a church lobby, I just looked this up now) of St Peter and Paul’s in Clonmel .

I lack the specialist vocabulary, but there is something quite modern about the face. Something that doesn’t suggest 1853.

On the other hand, it does remond me of the Corlekc Head:

Carved stone head
[4:23] Carved stone head, Drumeague, Corleck, Co. Cavan.
Early Iron Age, first to second century ad.
Known since it came to scientific attention in 1937 as the Corleck Head, this three-faced stone idol was found in the townland of Drumeague, Co. Cavan around the year 1855. …
The likelihood is that the Corleck Head was associated with a shrine reflecting Romano-British traditions located close to where the carving was discovered. The three-faced carving is the finest of its type and there is a small hole in the base to help it stand securely, perhaps on a pedestal. One of the faces is heavy browed and all of them have bossed eyes, a broad nose and slit mouth. One of the mouths has a small circular hole at the centre and this feature is also found on two of the Co. Armagh carvings and on another from Woodland

More view of the Wallace font’s head:

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“loneliness, the toxic by-product of freedom which generates ad-hoc, fragile communities among people who have escaped conventional backgrounds and who, after dreaming of cosmopolis, wake up atomized.”

A few weeks back I came across a brief review in the New Yorker by Peter Schjeldahl of the current Whitney Biennial, which turned out to be a condensed version of this longer piece. The money paragraph, so to speak, is the same in both versions:

 

 

The cause of all the anguish is obvious: Trump. The predominant effect is one of creative entropy, a defensive huddling in political or coterie formations that are pointedly indifferent when not hostile to outsiders. Catalogue entries for some Native Americans in the show term fellow-citizens who lack tribal blood “settlers.” At the same time, the artists are trapped in a cultural élite by their education, employing sophisticated forms that are inaccessible to the general public. If politics is about winning power through persuasion, much of the art at hand hardly qualifies as political. Instead, it suggests the virulence of the classic American malaise: loneliness, the toxic by-product of freedom which generates ad-hoc, fragile communities among people who have escaped conventional backgrounds and who, after dreaming of cosmopolis, wake up atomized.

This applies well beyond the art world, or even the political world, or even the America of Donald Trump (or anyone else) ; it has become the classic Western malaise, the escape from “convention” into sheer loneliness.

#MarianMay – the playlist

After the enormous success of #ChoralMarch and #AprilCountry#MarianMay did not perhaps set the Internet on fire, but I did enjoy exploring the wide range of Marian-inspired music, with a good representation from contemporary, living composers. Aside from some sean nos and  Frank Patterson I stuck pretty much to the choral tradition.

#MarianMay : Magnificat, John Taverner, performed by Chanticleer

From labelmate of The Beatles on their own Apple Records, to composer of devout works of Orthodox faith, John Taverner followed an unconventional path from hippy fandom (the rather arch Gramophone review linked to above  recalls”the worn-out copy in the local library—potholed by the styli of countless gramophones that otherwise played nothing but pop, rock and jazz.) to Orthodoxy to “Universalism”.  Here is his Magnificat for this last day of May: