Art for October Prayer Tables

Scripture is the major theme of October’s Home and Classroom Lessons, so this is a nice time to show honor to the great gift of the Bible on your prayer table.  If you have a treasured Bible, display it in a nicer-than-average way there this month.  You’ll also be working on a color, cut and paste craft in the first week of Home Lessons and a “stained glass” candle holder the next week – both are perfect ways to decorate and update your prayer center!  Until then, if you have access to color printing, I recommend adding the piece below to your collection of art:

St. Matthew and the Angel by Guido Reni

Besides being beautiful, like most religious art, this piece teaches important lessons.

The Church teaches that while Scripture was written by men, it was inspired by God who, in a very real way, was the primary Author.  We get an illustration of that truth in this piece as we see the great Gospel writer receiving the words directly from one of God’s messengers.  Can’t you just hear the conversation? [angel counting on his fingers] “Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…”

This has been a recurring subject in sacred art and you can see other examples here, here, here, here, here, and here.

On a practical level, for those of you just starting a Prayer Center in your home, there is a a trifold brochure on creating a prayer center in your home in your September Home Lesson packet, and you can learn a little more in this past post.

There are many sources for sacred art, and some of them, including the calendar you probably picked up at your parish last December and the Christmas cards you’ve already thrown away, are free.  My absolute favorite source of high quality, printable digital files is the Web Gallery of Art which currently has over 29,000 pieces* – many of them in the Sacred Art category.  That’s where all the art links in this post came from and it’s always the first place I look for prayer center art, desktop backgrounds, etc.  The search engines are great and the scans are all high quality.

For ease of use nothing beats a clear acrylic free-standing frame, available from those gigantic discount stores. They’re very inexpensive and the art can be easily changed by just sliding it out – no assembly required! My favorite size is 8 X 10, but they also come in smaller sizes that would be suitable for holy card art, inspirational quotes, Christmas card art, etc.

*Fair Warning:  The Web Gallery of Art is not a specifically religious site.  There are many classical pieces with a wide variety of subject matter, including nudes.  It’s likely you will not want to send unsupervised children there.

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