Friday, July 28, 2017
“Beauty and Catechesis:” A Review
Copyright © Edward Riojas
The Rev. Gaven M. Mize is about to show us what Rembrandt has to do with the First Commandment.
In a throwback to the days when our visual appetites were sated alongside our need to read, “Beauty and Catechesis” comes as a refreshing addition to the bookshelf. And what could be a better pairing than Luther’s Small Catechism and works of art by the masters?
Rembrandt’s “Daniel and Cyrus Before the Idol Bel” compliments Luther’s explanation of the First Commandment and the author’s expounding on the same. Works by Rubens, Ingres, Masaccio, Bosch, El Greco, da Vinci, and a host of others are also featured, spanning stylistic periods, artistic media, and individual notoriety. But “Beauty and Catechesis” isn’t just another pretty book.
Mize deftly weaves the Catechism into devotion into art lesson. Without explaining beauty or beating to death a philosophical definition of the same that is bound to get ugly, he simply shows beauty through wonderful examples of master works and through the greater beauty of Holy Scripture.
For visual learners, this little book will help instill the words of Luther’s Small Catechism, and breathe meaning into both Luther’s explanations and the featured artwork. “Beauty and Catechesis” is not a book to be memorized, but a book to which the reader will want to return and explore.