Brothers and Sisters explain it all on video

By Denise Lanctot
Updated October 31, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST
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She’s the nun with the earthy eye — England’s best popularizer of art since Sir Kenneth Clark. They’re America’s dog-training monks — laid-back Barbara Woodhouses for the 21st century. If you haven’t caught them on PBS, catch the five-tape Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting ($99.98, FoxVideo) and the three-tape Raising Your Dog With the Monks of New Skete ($64.95, One Leg Up, 1-888-77SKETE, and in stores). The spiritual messages come with a surprising amount of panting. — Denise Lanctot

Raising Your Dogs with the Monks of New Skete

OPENING LINE: ”How shall we respond to our aloneness?”

WHAT THEY SEE IN DOGS: ”Their presence, I think, does a remarkable amount of good for celibate people. We don’t have a spouse to go home to and be affectionate with … The dogs do provide a kind of emotional richness.”

ON PETTING: Animals ”demand something … you can give very easily and at hardly any cost.”

WHAT MASTERS LEARN FROM DOGS: ”Dogs draw us out of ourselves; they root us in nature, making us more conscious of the mystery of God.”

PHILOSOPHICAL BONE: Dogs ”have an innate desire to please themselves.”

Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting

OPENING LINE: ” … 20,000 years ago [France] looked quite different.”

WHAT SHE SEES IN ART: ”Light plays upon this whole beautiful body from the long neck right down to the cleave of the buttocks as though [Ingres] sort of licked his paint adoringly over every part of her.”

ON PETTING: ”There’s Juno, seducing her own husband with those rather obvious breasts and Jupiter’s mooning over her like a besotted salmon.”

WHAT WE LEARN FROM THE MASTERS: ”Adam sprawls there in his naked male glory … All he can do is lift up a flaccid finger and out of the clouds whirls down the God of power.”

PHILOSOPHICAL BONE: ”Works of art,” she told Bill Moyers, ”can often teach us things about ourselves we would rather not know.”

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