Colin McCahon

Visible mysteries no. 1

Visible mysteries no. 1 by Colin McCahon

Artwork Detail

Each of the paintings in the Visible Mysteries series is inscribed with the phrase ‘Grant that what we have received in visible mysteries we may obtain in its invisible effect’. A Catholic incantation said after receiving Holy Communion on Ascension Day, it also conveys the complexity of attempting to express the inexpressible. Gordon H. Brown expands on this point noting; ‘It is a case of giving visibility to a mysterious process by imposing on its invisible power a form identifiable to the senses. So it is that certain symbols loosely associated with the Eucharist reinforce the text inscribed on each painting.’ (McCahon's Visible Mysteries, 2004)

Visible mysteries no. 1
Colin McCahon
Production date
synthetic polymer paint on hardboard
970 x 1270 x 60 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1980
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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