Last night at dinner, Doug and I were discussing Thomas Jefferson’s trifecta–his top three luminaries (John Locke, Francis Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton) and then our top three luminaries.
Doug: Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Richard Pryor.
Me: Ben Franklin, Sister Corita and then it gets difficult. Here are my possibilities: Rainer Maria Rilke, Georgia O’Keeffe, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Paul Tillich, Saint Ignatius, Thoreau, Emerson. I’m sure others are missing from this list.
Then I started to think about my top paintings/artworks. Which reminded me of this one:
I don’t remember when I first saw this painting, but the light, dimensionality and the facial expression of Mary transfixed me. I visit the painting when I am in Philadelphia, sitting in front of it in my own kind of meditation. Mary, along with the luminaries listed above were people who took intellectual, artistic, scientific and political risks. People who walked along their edge of critical and creative thinking. They took their task seriously, even when they didn’t want to do what they were called to do.