Martyrdom

Happy All Saints Day, everyone!!!!!!

:silence:

Ahem. I SAID . . . Happy All Saints Day, everyone!!

:sigh:

Hello? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Okay, so I forgot to post something for Halloween and now I’m trying to compensate by drumming up excitement for All Saints Day. After all, today is November 1st, a sacred and spiritual day in western Christian tradition that most people overlook. Probably because there’s no candy involved.

But you know what? I don’t care. I’m gonna go ahead and acknowledge All Saints Day. Fuck Halloween. <— that's right, I said it. Halloween is nothing more than an opportunity for the neighborhood kids to throw eggs and shaving cream at peoples' houses and steal pumpkins off front stoops. The latter actually happened to me, can you believe it? I came home from work yesterday around 6:00 to discover that my big beautiful pumpkin had been snatched. Juvenile delinquents all of them 😆

Religion, especially Christianity, has inspired an enormous amount of great art. Too much to even comprehend. The canon of saints in particular has provided some truly stunning works, much of it created, not surprisingly, between the 15th and 17th centuries, when the Bible and religion was the dominant subject matter of many painters. I’ve selected just a few to showcase here but there are literally hundreds.

Saint Peter was one of Jesus’s earliest disciples and a major figure in Christian history. From the Greek painter El Greco, this is The Tears of Saint Peter from 1607:

elgreco-tears-stpeter

Saint Cecilia was the patron saint of musicians and church music. The female artist Artemisia Gentileschi painted a few versions of her. This one is titled St Cecilia Playing a Lute, 1616:

Gentileschi-cecilia

Even a non-devout person like myself has a “favorite” saint. Oh yes indeed. St. Francis of Assisi is my man because he was the patron saint of animals and spoke out for kindness and respect toward all our nonhuman friends on earth. His notable quote on the subject reads as follows:

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

My kind of guy 🙂 And based on this painting, he was pretty cute too! This excellent 1658 work is by Francisco Zurbarán:

Zurbaran-St_Francis_WGA

In a couple of weeks, on November 25th, Catholic churches will observe the Feast of Saint Catherine. A nice addition to the rituals and services of that day would be the inclusion of this magnificent painting by the great Caravaggio. Incredible values and composition, this is Saint Catherine:

Caravaggio_StCatherine

Paolo Veronese depicts a very intense scene here, one that really communicates the agony and suffering of a saint’s life. Year 1553, this is The Temptation of St Anthony:

veronese-stanthony

Auguste Rodin explored sainthood as well with his scuplture Saint John the Baptist Preaching:

rodin-preaching

I warmly invite my Catholic readers to comment and share the significance of the saints, a topic I’m certain you can all discuss much more articulately than me, as theology is not my strongest subject.

All Saints by Fra Angelico:

All-Saints

Peace and love to all . . . of all faiths and non-faiths.

Claudia
xo

14 thoughts on “Martyrdom

  1. fredh1 says:

    Great selections by great artists! But the muscles on the guy in the Veronese painting are crazy – that guy has extra muscles between the regular muscles!

    Happy All Saints Day, and I think the 2nd is All Souls Day.

    There was a great Halloween post on “The Best Artists”, featuring some of Goya’s scary paintings: http://100swallows.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/halloween-by-goya/

    Fred

    • artmodel says:

      Thanks Fred!

      Yeah, the musculature on the Veronese guy is insane. It almost distracts from the narrative of the painting.

      A happy All Saints AND All Souls day to you friend 🙂

      Claudia

  2. Rog says:

    Thank-you Claudia, for commemorating All Saints Day. I sometimes think that one reason it is not a big deal to people, even devout Christians, is that how can we; when do not view ourselves as Saints.

    This is one reason why the Christine Aguilera Song “I am Beautiful” is actually one of the best pop songs of recent history.

    …rog

  3. Ron says:

    Fuck Halloween? Fuck Halloween? Did you ever stop to think that that day might be someone’s birthday? I think maybe a little bit of holiday sensitivity training is order. Even goblins, ghosts and ghouls have feelings, you know.

    • artmodel says:

      Ron,

      If I had said “Fuck October 31st”, I might agree with you about the birthday issue. But I said “Fuck HALLOWEEN” specifically. As for the goblins and ghouls having feelings? Well, shit, they stole my pumpkin!!!

      😥

      Claudia

  4. Ray says:

    Hi Claudia

    Beautiful artwork and a great post!

    It’s not easy to be a saint. Even in school!

    Ray

  5. dougrogers says:

    That’s actually Saint Cecilia playing a pumpkin.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Interesting to view a collection of Saints; especially enjoyed the El Greco and Francis of Assisi.

    Shame about your pumpkin! I assume that Halloween is a big night in the US (at least that’s what we’re led to believe from TV programmes!). It’s grown in popularity over here, too, eclipsing Bonfire/Firework/Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, no doubt due to health and safety issues, in that knocking on strangers’ doors asking for food is just about safer than having bonfires and fireworks in your garden! I duly got together a bunch of ‘treat’ bags, but where I live now we just don’t get the kids coming round that we did to my old house, so we just had to ‘treat’ ourselves!

    With regard to October 31st being someone’s birthday, indeed it is my husband’s …

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer,

      Halloween has gone through periods of bad PR in my lifetime. When I was a kid there was a time when people were scared about the safety of trick or treating, with a lot of urban legends going around about poisoned candy, razor blades in apples, etc. Weird stuff.

      I’ve also noticed that there are fewer kids coming around than there were in the past. But we had more trick or treaters this year than last year, and some really cute costumes too!

      Happy Belated birthday to your husband!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Claudia

  7. ColdSilverMoon says:

    Great selection, Claudia. I especially like the Caravaggio – typical excellent figurative work by him. I agree with Fred about the Veronese painting – that’s extreme over-idealization. Still, I wish I had muscles like that…

    • artmodel says:

      Thanks ColdSilverMoon!

      The Caravaggio is really exceptional. I knew I was going to include that one for sure.
      And Zurbaran who did the Saint Francis painting, is often referred to as the “Spanish Caravaggio” which I find interesting.

      Claudia

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