Last Sunday, I was in New York to participate in the Mass celebrating the one hundreth anniversary of the founding of Regis High School. Since the Mass was celebrated at the church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, I decided to arrive early to see the Cubism exhibition at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show featured works by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Though fascinated by the artists' bravura technique, I left yearning for the sacramental presence I would experience at the Mass.

By chance, yesterday's Times featured on the front page Holland Cotter's review of the re-opening of Paris' Picasso Museum. Towards the end of the article I found expressed the misgivings I had experienced two days earlier at the Met's exhibition. Cotter writes:

All together, you can learn a tremendous amount about Picasso in the Picasso Museum show, not least that he could be a truly terrible artist. Maybe the biggest revelation, though, comes on the top floor, when you catch your first glimpse of a Cézanne landscape Picasso once owned, and instantly sense what’s been missing from the two floors below: focus, concentration, a point of repose, warmth like a light in a tunnel, a fire in a hearth, a vigil lamp in a church.

Might one say in sum: sacramentality.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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