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Past Catholic Artistic Imagination Presentations

Catholic Artisitc Imagination is a series of informal receptions exploring the idea of Catholic artistic imagination. Our aims are to:

  • foster a broad and inclusive understanding of Catholic intellectual tradition
  • promote collegiality and collaboration across divisional and disciplinary boundaries
  • create conditions in which cross-disciplinary scholarship may emerge
  • showcase the artistic and intellectual expertise and gifts of Duquesne faculty, graduate students and staff
  • share beautiful works of art with interesting people.

The Problem of Pity from Augustine to Shakespeare

April 12, 2016
4:00 - 5:30 PM, Union 613
Presenter: Danielle St. Hilaire
Faculty, staff, and graduate students are welcome to attend. RSVP to ccit@duq.edu

Can art can have a positive impact on the world? In Confessions, St. Augustine suggests that, while pity (misericordia) can be a virtue that moves people to help others, the pity elicited by works of art-particularly tragedy--might be antithetical to virtue. Join Dr. Danielle St. Hilaire for a conversation on the difference between virtuous pity and aesthetic pity in two writers of the English Renaissance: Spenser and Shakespeare. These writers recognize the power of pity to produce ethical relationships between individuals in terms that would have been familiar to Augustine and to Thomas Aquinas,yet they also consider how the kind of pity inspired by art might limit the virtuous it is supposed to produce.

Faith and Reason at Hogwarts: Harry Potter and Christian Intellectual Tradition

March 10, 2016
4:00 - 5:30 PM, Union 119
Presenter: Kathleen Glenister Roberts
Faculty, staff, and graduate students are welcome to attend. RSVP to ccit@duq.edu

J.K. Rowling's fantasy series Harry Potter was denounced by some as devilry, lauded as inspirational by others. The controversy, confined in large part to the US, underscores important distinctions in the high church intellectual tradition - a tradition of which Rowling is a self-professed part. In this conversation Dr. Kathleen Glenister Roberts shares the value of Rowling's texts in exploring issues of faith and reason with students. She will also offer a perspective on Rowling's "seeker" metaphor in the books as it relates to questions of truth.

Fume Fume: An encounter with a traditional dance from Ghana
April 13, 2015
4:00 -5:30 PM Africa Room
Presenter: Joseph Sheehan

Traditional music in Ghana often combines song, rhythm, and dance into an immersive, communal experience, shared by people of different ages, backgrounds, and musical abilities. In this experiential and informal presentation Dr. Sheehan will share a recreational dance from southern Ghana named Fume Fume. Be prepared to sing a song, perform rhythms, and try some dance movements! While learning the music, we will uncover relationships between movement, language, and rhythm; and see how the musical structure allows for creativity and flexibility. We will also discover a wonderful approach to performance practice that contrasts with many Western musical activities.

Composing Inner Resonance: Contemporary Musical Settings of the Passion
March 16, 2015
4:00 -5:30 PM Africa Room
Presenter: Zvonimir Nagy

The accounts of the Holy Week Gospel narratives have inspired composers throughout music history to set the narrative of Christ's Passion to music. From cross-cultural and cross-denominational perspectives, the presentation will unveil a selection of more recent Passion music by present day composers. The discussion will offer a window into the composers' creative world as it arranges a moderated dialogue between the sense of the composer's musical representations and music's ultimate manifestations at the crossroads of tradition and innovation.

Experiencing the Religious Music of J.S. Bach, Then and Now
February 26, 2015
4:00 -5:30 PM Power Center, Section A

Join Benjamin Binder, Associate Professor of Musicianship, for an afternoon of music and conversation on the religious music of J.S. Bach. The passions, cantatas, and sacred works of Johann Sebastian Bach are regularly performed on concert stages today. These performances may profoundly move us, but to what extent are we really having the same experience as Bach's congregation when they heard these pieces as part of their worship services in St. Thomas Church, Leipzig almost 300 years ago? In this session, we'll reflect on the many differences between the musical, cultural, and religious environments of Bach's 18th-century Germany and those of our own time. We'll also sample some recordings and videos of modern-day approaches to presenting Bach's religious music that deal with this historical divide in interesting and sometimes provocative ways.

Gregorian Chant: Liturgical Music and Catholic Intellectualism
December 10, 2014
4:00-5:30 PM
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Reception following in Union 613

The quietness within the monastic walls provided adequate space for chanting and creativity. It also offered the monks a favorable environment for the invention of a system used to visually represent aurally perceived sacred sounds through the utilization of symbols called neumes. Drawing on chant examples from the 9th through the 12th centuries, Sister (Dr.) Marie Agatha Ozah will discuss the ingenuity of these monks as they created the neumatic notations and their use even in contemporary liturgical music. We will sing a few simple chants, limiting ourselves only to the Gregorian chant, from the Graduale Romanum. This presentation will take place in the University Chapel in order to give the participants the opportunity to experience this music within the ambient in which the repertoire is usually performed.

Memory, Time and Sacred Proportion in the Music of Guillaume Du Fay

November 18, 2014
4:00-5:30 PM
Union 613

Professor Jessica Wiskus will lead attendees through an experiential encounter with the influential 15 century Renaissance composer, Guillaume Du Fay. We will listen to his musical masterpiece, Missa Se la face ay pale. A beautiful and haunting work, the sacred symbols within the music begin to reveal themselves only after careful study. From the philosophy of Plato to the visionary writings of St. Augustine, we will explore some of the thinking that informs Du Fay's musical imagination, focusing on the way that his music uses proportion to create an overlap of "past" and "present" and lead the listener to an intimation of eternity. Finally, we will listen several times to the Gloria of Du Fay's mass, experiencing for ourselves the rhythms and repetitions that express the music's sacred meaning. As usual we will enjoy cocktails and hors d'oevres in a relaxed and collegial setting. Faculty, staff, and graduate students are welcome to attend. Space is limited.

Music as Therapy
October 21, 2014
4:00 pm -5:30 pm
Union 613

Music therapy is a 60 year old profession with principles of practice founded in human experiences of music. Dr. Elaine Abbott will share her expertise in an informal and experiential format. You will learn about music therapy as a profession and, by listening to music together, appreciate how its principles operate. As usual we will enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in a relaxed and collegial setting. Attendance is open to all faculty, staff, and graduate students.

President's Art Tour

"Spirit and Symbol: A Campus Tour of Religious Art"
September 30, 2014
613 Student Union

President Charles J. Dougherty will lead a walking tour of religious art on our Bluff.  Learn about the history and symbolism of key pieces of public art that beautify our campus and contribute to making us a community of "One Heart, One Spirit."

"The Mystery of the Crucified One in Byzantine Hymnography and Iconography"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

613 Student Union

This presentation will discuss Byzantine icons and hymns of the Crucifixion, examine their biblical-exegetical basis, and ponder their theological claims.  Dr. Bogdan Bucur is an Associate Professor with the Department of Theology.  His work explores the link between biblical exegesis, doctrinal developments, and spirituality in early Christianity and the Byzantine tradition.

"Encountering the Other: Catholic Social Teaching and Art"
Monday, February 24, 2014
Africa Room

"Through my art I hope to create images that strike a chord in the soul that resonates in the mind a state of wonder. Being in awe of humanity's possibility and celebration of the dignity of each person is reflected in how well society is creating a 'peace-filled' world. The artwork is more than social commentary of images and symbols; it is the story of you and I in relationship." - Matthew Walsh, Assistant Director, Spiritan Campus Ministry. Join us in exploring some of the key principals of Catholic social thought through the artist's imagination.

"Rublev's Icon of the Trinity"
Friday, December 6, 2013
613 Student Union

Our series continues with a consideration of iconographic representations of the LORD's appearance to Abraham in the form of three men (Gen. 18).  Early Western and Eastern icons interpreted this passage Christologically.  The Russian iconographer Andre Rublev, in his famous icon on the Trinity, illustrated the same event as an interaction between the three persons of the Trinity and an invitation addressed to the viewer to participate in the life of the Trinity.  Dr. Radu Bordeianu will share his expertise in a relaxed setting.

"Michelangelo's Catholic Imagination"
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Africa Room

This series of receptions will begin with a consideration of Michelangelo's artistic engagement with Catholic liturgy and devotion, focusing on his first major commission, the Pieta in St. Peter's.  Emily Fenichel, Visiting Assistant Professor in Art History, will share her expertise in a relaxed setting.