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Angels of Love and Sorrow

I didn’t know, when I started my three-post “Keith Carter and the Cloud of Mercy,” how many new reasons we would have now, in this pandemic, to pray for mercy. Our perilous state, and our pressing need for charity of all kinds, have made me think of a photograph from my “Marion under the Moon” series: “Angels of Love and Sorrow.”

Angels of Love and Sorrow – by Lawrence Russ

These figures occupy the doorway of a mausoleum shaped like a pyramid, in Hartford, Connecticut. It’s central to my feeling about the image that the two angels — the more evidently supernatural one and the human one — are joined in mutual feelings of sorrow and need, love and mercy. The angel carved in stone shows more obvious pain and damage, and her wings and her look of supplication are visible to us, but the human woman also has visible grace, and her position and gesture express both her receiving and her giving of comfort.

I hope that we’ll all be ready and able to act with reciprocal patience and prayer, sympathy and mercy, as we struggle to get through this frightening time. (As for me, I confess that my wife, my angel-editor, has had to keep me from writing angry comments about people who may have made all this worse than it needed to be.)

Thank God for all the health workers trying to save us, for all those risking their lives for the lives of us needy strangers, for all the delivery and other workers who maintain our lifelines while we try to protect our health and the health of the people we love. (And my thanks to the photographers and arts organizations who’ve offered videos and online exhibitions to help our minds and souls to travel, while we sit in our little caves, waiting for this danger to pass.)

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25.

Lawrence Russ View All

Was the Alfred P. Sloan Scholar for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. Obtained a Master of the Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where I was selected as a Writing Fellow in Poetry by the Program faculty. Have published poems, essays and reviews in many magazines, anthologies, reference works, and other publications, including The Nation, The Iowa Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Parabola, OMNI, and the exhibition catalogue for Art at the Edge of the Law at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Received a law degree from the University of Michigan, and have changed the law and created educational programs in the fields of arts law, historic preservation law, and public construction and contracting law in the State of Connecticut. My photographs have appeared in international, national, regional and state juried exhibitions, and have been selected for awards including Honorable Mentions in the Architecture, Fine Art (series), Nature (series), Open Theme (series), Portrait, and Seascape categories from the international Fine Art Photography Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Fine Art-Other category from the International Photography Awards. Photographs of mine have been selected for exhibition or publications by or in the 2019 International Juried Exhibition of the Center for Photographic Art (Carmel, CA), 2019 International Competition of The Photo Review, the 2019 Open Exhibition of the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins CO, F-Stop Magazine, Shadow & Light Magazine, Black Box Gallery in Portland OR, Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis MN, the Darkroom Gallery in VT, PhotoPlace Gallery in VT, A Smith Gallery in TX, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and many other journals and venues. My work has also been selected for inclusion in the Flatfile Program of Artspace New Haven (CT). My photography website is at www.lawrenceruss.com .

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