Sacred Art

Sacred Places

Pere Couturier



This short preliminary movie grew out of an assignment in my studies of Architectural History. The topic assigned was sacred art as presented by Pere Couturier, a Dominican priest in mid-twentieth-century France.  Couturier’s early and post war associations with Braque, Lurcat, Leger, Lipchitz, Matisse, Picasso, Miro, Chagall, Rouault, Bonnard, Richier, Bony, Bercot, Bazaine as well as writers, theatre people, museum directors, collectors (John and Dominique De Menil) and prominent art dealers prompted him to deliver a bold statement of uncompromising truth.  Directed at the clergy and their complacent attitude toward sacred art, Couturier’s message hurled accusations of “false principles and laziness”  compelled to reject the “fallacious, the facile, the sterile.”  The bitter disputes forced a rethinking of religious art and toppled the wall of confusion and misread intentions that stood between the Church and Modern Art. The celebrated result was a brief period of brilliance following the war with Leger’s Church of Assy, Matisse’s stained-glass windows, Vence Chapel, Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp Chapel and his La Tourette Convent.

My paper further develops a story of the now-abandoned road from the Jesuit seminary, through the allee on to the Sacred Heart Academy of Grand Coteau, Louisiana.

The paper and movie were submitted as a sample of graduate work in the college’s accreditation review, 2008.

                               Haiku Poems

                       The Home of Memory

Fresh grass clippings scooped

up quickly formed walls of my

palatial play house

Bright colors under

glistening glass, in a row

lined each pantry shelf

Barnyard babes briskly

bound by bravely because Beau

beagle barked, bayed, bit

My second tree house

in a camphor had many

sweet, pungent breezes

The rain paused play long

enough to smell the summer

pinks under the porch

The colors now in

subtle change from morning to

night softly please me

Flocks of fireflies swarm

around mimicking late night

busy airport skies

The sweet scent of night

jasmine filters through my dark

bedroom window screen

Warm heavy night air

sticks all my thoughts together

and closes my eyes

Sacred Art, Sacred Places