Behold the human.
The civil authority presents the person, bound and crowned with thorns, to the crowd. This is Jacob Epstein’s statue, positioned on the wall of the ruined cathedral.
Twin charred beams that had chanced to fall upon one another were wired together as a cross by a stonemason walking over the rubble: many others were later manufactured of nails from the building, wrecked by bombs and fire in November 1940.
This edifice, the medieval ruins linked to the modernist cathedral, humanity rebuilding from war’s destruction, is a myth in stone, spinning a narrative and tugging at the heart. A life ago, I learned it is spiritual faith that moves us, and this does not require narrow belief in superstition. I was moved then by witness, not my own, which sat in the street sharing food with homeless people, crossed into rowdy pubs, found the story in each person’s ended life, stood in comradeship on the picket line and preached liberation at the pulpit.
A conversation with Portrait of Wildflowers blogger Steven Schwartzman had turned to the artist John Piper. Many of his pieces are built of strong black drawn lines, then enriched with colour. He is an inspiration. He designed stained glass windows for the new Coventry cathedral.
These are not them. These were designed by Lawrence Lee. My daughter had charge of the camera and afterwards I realised we had no more than a glancing shot of Piper’s baptistry, drowned in daylight.
The old cathedral is seen through, and reflected in, the nave’s west window, engraved with figures of the patriarchs, the disciples and saints, with lots of angels. It’s an boys’ night out with the token girl in the middle.