Posts Tagged ‘Lady Chapel’

Woman’s work: art that catechizes

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012


Many of you probably recognize this image of the Annunciation. It’s a detail from a mosaic on the front of the altar in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s a perfect example of art as catechesis, portraying Luke 1: 26-38. But did you know that it was made by a woman artist and a New Yorker at that?

The artist’s name was Hildreth Meière and you have probably seen many of her works around the city. She is represented in two of the Cathedral’s neighboring houses of worship, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue and 51st Street and Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue and 65th Street. You will also find her work in some of New York’s great secular landmarks, such as No. 1 Wall Street and even the Radio City Music Hall.

Meière, who was educated at Manhattan’s Convent of the Sacred Heart and studied art in the United States and Europe, worked in many media besides mosaic. She was considered one of America’s greatest mosaic artists. You can learn more about her on a website dedicated to her life and works.

Until May 20, the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), located at 1865 Broadway at 61st Street in Manhattan, is celebrating the genius of this great artist with an exhibition titled “Walls Speak. The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière.”

MOBIA’s mission is to “celebrate and interpret art related to the Bible and its cultural legacy in Jewish and Christian traditions through exhibitions, education and scholarship.” In other words, the museum wishes to showcase the influence that the Bible has had on culture, especially art, with exhibits like the Meière show and another that is running concurrently, “Finding Comfort in Difficult Times. A Selection of Soldiers’ Bibles.”

Upcoming exhibits include one on printmaking and the Gutenberg printing press and another on the ecclesiastical art of Louis Comfort Tiffany, who was known for his unique stained glass. The museum also maintains a remarkable permanent collection of rare Bibles.

Do try to visit the museum and in the meantime, find out more about it here.  Be sure to visit the Lady Chapel at St. Patrick’s to see the entire altar mosaic.