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The Art of Being Human: St. Cecilia Through Poetry and Film

December 12, 2019 · 2:30 pm9:00 pm · McCormick 101 and Princeton University Art Museum

Humanities Council
Saint Cecilia, ca. 1900 Sir Edward Burne-Jones, British, 1833–1898 Made by Morris & Co., est. 1875. Stained and painted glass, Princeton University Art Museum.

Celebrating the aesthetic riches of the Princeton University Art Museum, a series of interdisciplinary events will examine human nature from the perspectives of music, poetry, painting, stained glass, and sculpture. Joe Perez-Benzo ’17, who majored in history as an undergraduate at Princeton University and is pursuing the Master of Liberal Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, will harness his research about the role of wonder, a capacity shrouded in secrecy and animating all discoveries. The festivities will revolve around one of the Princeton University Art Museum’s greatest treasures, Edward Burne Jones’s luminous stained glass portrait of the pensive Saint Cecilia.

2:30 – 4:30 pm, McCormick 101: Screening of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast in McCormick 101

4:30 – 5:30 pm, Princeton University Art Museum: In “Poetry Night at the Museum,” Joe will lead an interactive tour of ancient, medieval, and modern exhibits in which he will pair paintings with poems. He, alongside all the participants, will read aloud each poem in front of the corresponding work of art, so that the mediums illuminate each other. Throughout, Joe’s commentary will guide everyone into ever more wonder.

5:30 – 6:30 pm, Princeton University Art Museum: Reception only for those who have attended other parts of “The Art of Being Human: St. Cecilia Through Poetry and Film”

6:30 – 7:00 pm, Princeton University Art Museum, Medieval Gallery: Performance of Gustav Holst’s “Four Songs for Voice and Violin” by Emily Swope de Sa and Ruth Swope

7:00 – 9:00 pm, McCormick 101: A roundtable discussion will center on St. Cecilia in poetry, music, and art. Joe will recite the text that Handel set to music, namely John Dryden’s poem, “Alexander’s Feast; Or the Power of Music. An Ode in Honor of Saint Cecilia’s Day.” Emily Swope de Sa, a singer and musician specializing in sacred music, will speak about Handel’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast, which is based on Dryden’s poem. Emily’s husband Andrew de Sa, an artist affiliated with the Carl Schmitt Foundation and the Catholic University of America, will comment on Burne-Jones’s stained glass portrait of St. Cecilia housed in the Princeton University Art Museum. Princeton undergraduate alumna, English major, singer, and actress Julia Dunn Mosby ’19 will moderate.

Open to the public. Participants are welcome to attend parts or the whole of “The Art of Being Human: St. Cecilia Through Poetry and Film.” Registration here is required.

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