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I want to finish by returning to Gleizes himself and to how he handled the problem of figuration.

In the 1930s, Gleizes did a series of paintings in which a human figure at the centre gives rise to a series of great concentric circular forms broken into coloured 'cadences'. The theme is the reconciliation of the human and divine of 'Earth and Sky', the title of this painting

which I knew well since I lived with it for some ten years with Genevieve Dalban in Ampuis (it was also part of André Dubois' collection).

This, which is obviously a Virgin and child, is called 'Glorious Maternity'.

And this, which is a Christ in Glory with the tetramorph is called 'Matter and Light'. 

The painting is dated 1935 and it was in 1937 that the physicist Louis de Broglie published his book of the same name which argued that the 'atom' was better conceived of as made up of waves or vibrations rather than of billiard-ball like 'particles'. Gleizes, friend of Charles Henry who had also advanced a theory of matter as vibration, had been aware of de Broglie's thesis since the 1920s and regularly sent him copies of his own books as they appeared. The painting is sometimes referred to as The Tetramorph and sometimes as Christ in Majesty and we might tentatively speculate that Gleizes adopted the title Matter and Light after the appearance of de Broglie's book. 

In all these cases Gleizes, then, is taking a religious figuration as emblematic of more general ideas. This great painting done on the outbreak of war is called 'Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power' - the title of books, as it happens, by René Guénon and by Guénon's colleague in the journal Études traditionnelles, Ananda Coomaraswamy.

In 1942, Gleizes was formally received into the Roman Catholic Church by confirmation. He had been baptised but not confirmed according to Mme Gleizes, because at the time when he would have been confirmed his mother was going through a period of enthusiasm for the esoteric philosopher, who could be called a forerunner of Guénon, Papus. It was in this context that he produced the 'Triptych' - Crucifixion, Christ in Glory and this Transfiguration, clearly based on the Orthodox icon of the Transfiguration. 

The unfinished second volume of Form and History, written over this period as a manifesto for France on the assumption of a German victory in Europe, includes a passage on the Orthodox hesychast movement, the ascetic movement associate with the name of St Gregory Palamas in the fourteenth century which argued for the possibility of entry into the Uncreated Light revealed in the Transfiguration.