Friday, December 25, 2015

Paul Gauguin's Te Tamari no Atua


Martin Gayford argues that the great post-impressionist "simply decided to paint a Tahitian Madonna because, in a highly unorthodox fashion, he was a man with religion on his mind" — Why would a dissolute rebel like Paul Gauguin paint a nativity?

Speaking of Polynesian madonnas, I watched The Nativity Story (2006) with the family last night. I thought the half-Māori Keisha Castle-Hughes's was surprisingly lackluster. Upon further reflection, I understood her uninspiring performance was in keeping with the Protestant faith of the film-makers, which sees Mary as almost an unimportant bystander in the story. This is in contrast to the faith of Catholics, among whom are those able to recognize her as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate.

Of this debased Protestant view of Mary at its worst, America's greatest man of letters wrote, "The Puritans abandoned the New Testament and the Virgin in order to go back to the beginning, and renew the quarrel with Eve" — Henry Adams on the Virgin Mary.

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