|Sacred Heart by Félix Villé, 1895|
I can find no other record of Teilhard making an observation on a work of art - or any evidence that he went looking for other images. However, in the Divine Milieu Teilhard does explicitly reference and image which captures his approach to Jesus:
|Ian's Christ Pantocrator|
I am no expert on Teilhard, but his reference to Christ as 'Pantocrator' (Παντοκράτωρ ) who' filled the ancient basilicas' is strongly suggestive that he would have indeed 'liked' our icon of the Sacred Heart. In icons of Christ Pantocrator Jesus is shown holding the Book of Life in his left hand and blessing with his right hand. In our icon the heart is placed not off centre, but at the very centre of the image. But is is clear that the icon is very much based on the image of Christ as ruler of all creation - that is as Pantocrator. So in a sense one could say that the icon is the Pantocrator as the Sacred Heart. Furthermore, our icon shows 'nothing less' than the Parousia as referenced in St. Paul. This serves as a 'counter balance' to the rather kitsch and sentimental images that Teilhard thought did the devotion to the Sacred Heart few favours. Thus it is significant that when he does express a visual image of Christ as drawing all things to himself he should reference a Greek or Orthodox image, and not a Roman Catholic image. Teilhard was open to the 'light from the East' in this as in other regards. Again, we see in the icon Christ as Omega 'dispersing the clouds' with the beams of light and swirling fire and energy surrounding his radiant body making all things new.
But, of course, if you compare our icon with images of Christ as Pantocrator it is obvious that there are many differences - apart from the use of a heart and omega symbol rather than a book. Ian's icon seems to be drawing on a range of sources - especially ( I think?) from images of Christ in Majesty / or 'in glory' and Christ as ' Salvator Mundi' - the Saviour of the World. An interesting contrast is with the images of Christ as law giver (Tradio Legis) and as Teacher. The symbol of law and teaching are here replaced by Christ who does not give laws or teach , but Christ as Jesus, a fellow human being, who loves us. And loves us with a love that is greater than all things. Christ who desires and wants our love in return for His.
In this central focus on the power of God's love as expressed in the Heart of Jesus, I really believe that Teilhard would indeed have liked the icon!