As long ago as the time of Pope St Gregory the Great (590–604), the Church has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the role of art in the work of preaching the Gospel of Christ. It is in the context of the enduringly positive message from the Church to artists over the centuries that this book sets out to explore and ponder some of the many and wonderful works created on the theme of the Eucharist. Masterpieces from Da Vinci, Bouts, Dalí and others are examined, and treasures of Irish Christian art, such as the Ardagh and De Burgo-O’Malley chalices, are looked at in detail.
Within this wonderfully compact book, which also has full-colour reproductions of all the works discussed, the reader will find both an invitation to explore the ideas and insights that the works of art have to offer, as well as an encouragement to prayer.
Born in Dublin, Eileen Kane was educated at the Dominican College, Eccles Street, and at University College Dublin. After a number of years as a secondary school teacher, she moved to the Department of External Affairs as Third Secretary, before returning to UCD to study History of Art under the late Dr Françoise Henry, and to take up a post as Assistant, and subsequently Lecturer in the History of European Painting.
She was awarded the degree of Ph.D. for her thesis on the arts in post-papal Avignon. Her research interests and academic publications have centred upon Avignon, Rome and Dublin. Since her retirement from UCD, she has concentrated on her interest in Christian art and spirituality, and has published regularly in that area. Doctor Kane is a Dame of the Order of Pope St Gregory.
Art and the Eucharist by Eileen Kane has beautiful colour illustrations of classical pictures from many different artists which touch upon the Eucharist. She discusses these in short chapters. Many are from the middle ages with Italian artists and those of Bruges and Gent being well represented. Modern pictures discussed include Salvador Dali’s “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” which dates from 1955.
- Church Review, August 2012
ln his 'Letter to Artists' (1999) the late Pope John Paul II wrote that art 'is a kind of bridge to religious experience'.
ln Art and the Eucharist Eileen Kane adds to her regular publications in the area of Christian art and spirituality with the presentation of a selection of masterpieces from European sources ranging from Leonardo da Vinci to Dali and including lrish artistic treasures which have all contributed to such spiritual bridge building. ln addition to the great works on the Last Supper, several chapters deal with artistic examples of Prefigurations of the Eucharist, Sacrament and Sacrifice, the Altarpiece of the Lamb and the Eucharist in the Church.
Seven lavishly illustrated chapters in all over 85 pages illuminate the story of the Eucharist in art, and a lifetime's familiarity with the works as UCD Lecturer in the History of European Painting enables Dr Kane to interpret in unique detail the ideas and insights offered by the artists through their creations. Her interpretation and summations are also clearly made from the perspective of a person of faith which gives them a warmth and personal resonance often absent in such studies and which greatly enhances the academic foundation of the work.
An ideal 'coffee table' book or to dip into to inspire personal prayer.
Fr Paul Clayton-Lea, Intercom, February 2013