When Art Came Down

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“What did painting the medieval period take for its subjects? Well, pretty much anybody with a halo. The holy family, Madonna and child, the twelves apostles, and so on. Now do not take me wrong. I have no problem with art treating biblical themes. That did not go away with the Reformation. But what came in as a result of the Reformation? The Dutch realist painters introduced us to the glory of the mundane. A girl reading a letter, a woman making lace, another woman pouring something from a jug, a girl with an earring, another girl smirking, still life table settings, an anatomy lecture with a cadaver. In short, art came down and dwelt among the people . . . just as the Lord had done.”

Chestertonian Calvinism, pp. 27-28