My children are 14 and 12. Therefore, I find it somewhat ironic that this is my second post in less than a month sharing about Mary Pope Osborne. It goes to show that there are some authors you never outgrow.
Each year, during Lent, I attempt to revisit her book The Life of Jesus in Masterpieces of Art. If you are unfamiliar with it, I would invite you to check out a copy because my photographs are certainly not going to do this book justice. Mary Pope Osborne has done a beautiful job telling the events of Christ's life using the King James Bible as her source text.
Then, to make a beautiful story even more beautiful, she uses the inspired images of Old Masters and medieval manuscript illuminations to paint the picture of this tale. Works from Botticelli, Perugino, Fra Angelico, Giotto, and Poussin are all included. The book includes the title, the author, and the date of each work.
The book can easily be read in one sitting, or it can be studied and appreciated over and over as we have attempted to do these past few weeks.
Osborne's note at the beginning of the book explains her heart behind the project. Part of it reads:
At the end of the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great said, 'Painting can do for the illiterate what writing does for those who can read.' Consequently, in the centuries that followed, the artists of western Europe were encouraged to use their imaginations to portray the stories in the Gospels. Since most people could not read, they learned about the life of Jesus through paintings, sculpture, and stained glass windows.
I am deeply grateful to these master painters for helping me tell the story that has been told again and again - the story that has profoundly influenced world culture for the last two thousand years.
We are, too.