Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Arnold Paine, Michelle - VM - Michelle Arnold

Michelle Arnold Paine: Mary the Chalice
Mary the Chalice
by Michelle Arnold Paine

Mary the Dawn, Christ the perfect Day;

Mary the Gate, Christ the heavenly Way.
Mary the Root, Christ the mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the sacred Wine.
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the living Bread;
Mary the Rose tree, Christ the Rose blood-red.
Mary the Font, Christ the cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the saving Blood.
Mary the Temple, Christ the temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored.
Mary the Beacon, Christ the haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision blest.
Medieval Hymn

The inspiration for this painting was a line from this medieval hymn explaining the role of Mary in God's plan of salvation: ‘Mary the Chalice, Christ the saving blood.’
The image in this painting refers to Mary as a vessel who bore Jesus into the world. Mary is the container, the chalice, which the Father chose to hold the Savior of the world. In the same way the chalice is the vessel that carries the wine (Christ’s saving blood) to us in Communion.
In the poem Mary is the container, the God-bearer. Mary is the Tabernacle, the object the Hebrews recognized as the earthly home of the Lord.
Here the woman looks at the Crucifix, which represents the suffering Christ. His suffering is painful to see, but it is through her act of listening and opening herself to God that redemption came into the world. The image evokes the memory of our mother Eve, whose disobedience brought sin into the world, culminating ultimately in the execution of Christ. Eve’s act of disobedience was redeemed in Mary’s obedient ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Through Mary’s ‘yes’ the shriveled tree of the cross blossoms into life again, and through Christ’s ‘Thy will be done’ is able to bear the fruit of life and love once more.
Michelle Arnold Paine: Mary the Chalice, Oil on Panel, 21.5” x 30”, 2009

Michelle Arnold Paine was an Advent Artist-in-Residence at Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection in December 2009, where Mary the Chalice was an integral element of the Advent Lessons and Carols Service. Michelle Arnold Paine is a contemporary painter living near Boston, Massachusetts. She studied at Gordon College, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. She spent three years living and working in Italy for Gordon College’s study abroad program, where she steeped herself in the Renaissance masters and the intimacy and beauty of daily Italian life. Images from the years she spent in Italy flow in and out of her work. In addition to numerous private collections, her work can be found in the collection of the Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso University and the collection of Rivier College, New Hampshire and has also been featured in Ruminate Magazine.

ArtWay Visual Meditation October 2, 2011