Seeing Is Believing’ – Reflecting On Art As A Glimpse Of The Sacred


‘Seeing is Believing: Reflecting on Art as a Glimpse of the Sacred’ 




These illustrated lectures are designed to make sense of Art. Indeed Nora Donnelly hopes to help not only to make some sense of Art but to make new sense by attending to what we see just for its own sake. In this way she hopes to show that God is immanent and embedded  in all things  visual and that our world is charged with the wonder of His presence.



These are the sorts of questions we will be asking during the lectures.

What do we need to bring to this painting in order to understand it fully?  And what can we hope to take away from it?

How do we figure it out?  How can we penetrate its meaning? What does it reveal about Mary? And what does it tell us about ourselves?

And how can we discern what the artist means by painting in this or that way or in using particular colours in this precise way? And –above all, how does this painting work as a religious object? Can it be considered as ‘devotional’? Does it inspire prayer in the traditional sense – or is that at all important?


In the first Lecture we will look very closely  at Michelangelo’s depiction of Mary in his Doni Tondo. In the second lecture we will consider a cross-section of work that shows particular aspects of and events in this great miracle of life that is Christmas.


Lecture. 1  Saturday 9th December’
‘Regarding Mary; A Visual Inquiry into Images of the Virgin in Art’

The first illustrated talk will look at images of Mary in Painting. The primary focus of attention is to be Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo which will we examine in detail.  We will also glance at the work of other artists asking how they depicted the Virgin and how they represented the Holy Family. Artists discussed and shown include:- Bellini, Botticelli, Bruegel, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Ghirlandaio, Leonardo da Vinci and  Murillo.



Lecture. 2 Saturday 16th December
‘With Respect to Art; Looking at the Miracle that is Christmas’

The second lecture will think about a variety of images of the Nativity. It will take a hop, skip and a jump across a diverse range of paintings that depict various aspects and moments in this wonderful event. It is hoped that these images open the door to admit us to a deeper , broader and more reverent understanding  of what Christmas might mean to the thinking Christian.

The Artists and work featured will include: Federico Barocci, Velasquez, de la Tour, Rembrandt, van der Goes, Gozzoli, Carvaggio, Michelangelo  and Paula Rego


About Nora Donnelly

Dr. Nora Donnelly is an Educator and Art Critic as well as an Artist.  She has taught both at Primary and University levels and written extensively about the value of the experience of Art to humankind.


Dates: Saturday 9th & 16th December
Time: 10.30am
Location: Taize Room, Prayer Centre, Knock Shrine
Fee: 20 per person. 

Book Your Place Online on Eventbrite

Advance booking is required for this event. However, if  you are unable to book your place via this service, a number of places will be available on the day.