David Clayton

Master of Sacred Arts at Pontifex University With a Concentration in the Theology of the Body Taught by Christopher West

Master of Sacred Arts at Pontifex University With a Concentration in the Theology of the Body Taught by Christopher West

This is the program by which you learn to paint the ultimate picture of Christ in which you are both the artist and the image! As Pope St John Paul II put it: ‘Through his “artistic creativity” man accomplishes above all in shaping the wondrous “material” of his humanity.’ 

A Technique for Memorizing Passages of the Liturgy When You Are an Old Man!

A Technique for Memorizing Passages of the Liturgy When You Are an Old Man!

Is your memory so bad that you even forget what it is you’re supposed to remember? That’s what I’m like. I’m trying to combat this with a technique that uses the psalms and sacred art to improve it. It will help deepen my participation in the liturgy too. That’s the hope at any rate.

Can You Paint a Holy Icon of Someone Not Yet Canonized? The Answer is Yes!

Can You Paint a Holy Icon of Someone Not Yet Canonized? The Answer is Yes!

The painting of the image is part of the natural process of growing devotion that always occurs prior to canonization. This is the process by which we collectively and organically recognize the sanctity of someone. The official canonization comes after this and does not make someone a saint, it merely accepts what is already known.

Illuminations from the Macedonian Renaissance of the 9th Century

Here are some folios from the Paris Psalter. An anonymous reader brought these to my attention because he thought I might be interested in the similarity in style to the 6th-century Mesopotamian illumination I featured last week.

The Paris Psalter is not French! It was procured by the French ambassador to Constantinople around 1550. The city was in the hands of the Ottomans at this time. They date from a period of Greek art known as the Macedonian Renaissance in which there is a flourishing of a more naturalistic style of iconography which clearly draws on antique classical style. It is this style of iconography that inspired the Romanesque style in the West which is, as with these, an authentic iconographic tradition. 

Many modern iconographers look to this period for inspiration, because it is felt that the naturalism would appeal the modern eye. The highly abstracted Russian style of the 15th century, for example, though well known can be too abstracted for some, it is felt.

Here, for example, is David composing the psalms.

David Composing the Psalms

David Composing the Psalms

David and Goliath

David and Goliath






These are large - approximately 14' x 10'. Things that struck me about these, are that there is some naturalistic perspective here, even down to color perspective - see how the distant objects are blue. In this sense, they are reminiscent of the style of frescoes of 1st century Pompeii that I have seen.



Nevertheless, the handling of the perspective is still enough off-natural to be iconographic, it seems to me. The relative sizes of the figures do not change from foreground to distance, for example. I would love to know how Eastern Christians view these images. Do you consider these authentically iconographic or do you feel they push the envelope too far into naturalism?



Notice also how Roman the clothing looks also and the beautiful and intricate border patterns.




David Glorified by the Women of Isreal




The Healing of Hezekias


Isaias's Prayer


The Reproach of Nathan and the Penance of King David


Hannah's Prayer