Jean-François Régis est un personnage relativement peu connu de l'histoire religieuse de la Nouvelle-France. N'étant jamais venu lui-même au Canada, il y a pourtant laissé une marque fort appréciable. Pendant près d'un siècle, sa vie et ses oeuvres ont en effet alimenté la piété de la colonie française établie sur les rives du Saint-Laurent.
Né le 31 janvier 1597 à Font-Couverte dans le diocèse de Narbonne et décédé à La Louvesc dans l'Ardèche le 31 décembre 1640, Jean-François Régis fut l'un des missionnaires les plus célèbres de son temps. Entré dans la Compagnie de Jésus en 1616, il y est ordonné prêtre en 1632. Pendant les premières années de son ministère, il enseigne tout d'abord au Collège de Cahors, puis à ceux de Tournon et de Toulouse, où il se distingue, notamment, lors de la grande peste qui ravage cette ville. Après son accession à la prêtrise, son zèle lui vaut d'être affecté aux missions de Sommières et de Viviers, dans le Languedoc, où il combat le calvinisme. Les succès qu'il y obtient le rendent bientôt indispensable aux missions jésuites en France. Jusqu'à sa mort, en 1640, il se dévouera essentiellement aux missions du Velay et du Vivarais dans le Massif Central, assistant les malades, les prisonniers et les nécessiteux de toutes sortes, prêchant inlassablement l'évangile de la Contre-Réforme. Jean-François Régis sera béatifié par Clément XI en 1716 et canonisé par Clément XII le 16 juin 17371.
Notes on the Iconography of Saint-François Régis in Nouvelle-France
Jean-François Régis is a relatively little-known figure in the religious history of Nouvelle-France. This Jesuit missionary, who was born in 1597 and died in 1640, was one of the heroes of the Counter-Reformation in France – a status he gained through his zeal in evangelizing the Hugenots and Calvinists of the Velay and Vivarais regions. He was beatified by Clement XI in 1716 and canonized by Clement XII on June 16, 1737.
In the past, art and literary criticism were often hermeneutic exercises, presupposing the inherence of a "significant being" within their respective sign systems. The expectation of a "meaningfulness" is an incarnational notion, whose sacramental associations cannot be evaded. If art was understood as the "host" of a "real presence," perhaps it was because God had been metaphorically located in everything, from the bread and wine of Holy Communion to the raw materials of written discourse, Logos or the Word. Indeed, one persistent cabbalistic tenet that can be traced through Francis Bacon, Coleridge, Ruskin, Mallarmé, and many others asserts that the universe itself is a text, in which Yahweh's handwriting can be read. Painting and poetry may then be viewed as subsidiary dialects within the language of Nature, charged with the communication of its Maker's ineffable wisdom. If, in this era of "inter-subjectivity," "inter-textuality," and "absence," neither Jehovah nor the author nor any other isolatable entity is thought to "speak" by means of visual or verbal narration, this was not always the case. For Bertram Brooker, the artist's role was still primarily a vatic one, translating divine inspiration into a symbolic code that rendered God's celestial idiom intelligible on earth.
L'exposition consacrée à l'artiste montréalais Denis Juneau au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada1 avait pour but de réévaluer au sein de sa production les quelques oeuvres de l'artiste appartenant à la collection du musée. En dépit de son allure de rétrospective elle se rattachait plutôt à une série d'expositions antécédentes connues sous le titre général A la découverte des collections. L'œuvre de Juneau n'ayant jamais fait l'objet d'une rétrospective comme telle, il semblait pertinent de s'en rapprocher pour dégager l'essentiel de la démarche de l'artiste.
The Psychic Qualities in the Paintings of Denis Juneau
Although it was seen as a retrospective exhibition, the 30 works by Denis Juneau dating from 1955 to 1980 presented at the National Gallery of Canada during the winter season 1984–1985 was in fact organized with a different intention. It was meant to situate in a proper context the few works by Juneau in the Gallery's collection. The show was thus linked to a previous series of exhibitions under the general title Discovering the Collections. Since the work of other "plasticiens" such as Guido Molinari and Claude Tousignant had been reviewed in scholarly articles on the occasion of major exhibitions, this presentation was attempting to widen the scope and implication of the exhibition. The present article originates from that point of view.
Notes and Commentary
Much of the antique jewellery found in Canada today dates from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. They are often treasured family heirlooms passed on from generation to generation, occasionally available on the market as estate jewellery or through antique dealers. Whatever the case, the jewellery from the turn of the century is highly prized, not only for its intrinsic value but because it offers an inimitable touch of old charm, a glimpse into another society remote in customs, values and beliefs. Indeed, many of these jewels reveal everyday life: for example a brooch with a sentimental message, a locket with yellowed photographs, a piece of mourning jewellery, or a watch engraved with a name and a date. By conjuring up their owners these mementos can provide an insight into past generations.
Native art in general and Inuit art in particular, has become immensely popular in Canada over the last two decades. Various reasons account for this phenomenon: the material being produced is now linked to a dynamic and (on the whole) effective distribution system whereby works done by geographically isolated creators are being moved to areas of dense population. Also, this marketing system is providing new income for creators at a time when more traditional socio-economic systems are being eroded. Successful marketing has promoted a considerable increase in the number of creators and in the volume of works they produce. Over the last twenty years or so, a new awareness has developed of the very real plight of Canadian native peoples and, most importantly, of the detrimental role European immigrants have played in this cultural crisis. A certain guilt exists. This guilt, of course, is tinged with romanticism for non-natives have a certain vicarious longing for a more elemental existence, for a life based on and derived from the land. The longing extends to cultural traditions as well. Here we see the Inuit with a highly developed, complex system of mythic beliefs, something European Canadians lack, as Northrop Frye has noted. For all these reasons, then, native art has now gathered attention never before accorded it.
Over the past decade, cultural analytic methodology has changed and developed such that erstwhile favoured formalism has been replaced by structuralist and post-structuralist methods. These changes have expanded to a considerable degree the scope of interpretation. No longer do we simply see the text or the image as the whole, self-contained object. No longer is the author or the artist considered a transcendent self or bearer of meaning. Rather, now, we have focused on meaning being constructed in the discourses that articulate it; meaning is found in the interactive context of reader and text. This approach greatly expands interpretation to encompass not simply the text but also both the reader's active participation and the determining role of social conditions in the process of meaning production. Context is once again vital, removed from its packing case in the attic. It is again acceptable to recognize, as we always knew, that texts read differently in different socio-cultural conditions and at different periods. Art works derive meaning in part from the conditions of reception, the specifics of context; what Hans Robert Jauss called the "horizon of reception of the audience."