Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A bit of art

Mooching around the fine art on the Internet, I came across this painting by an artist I am very fond of. The painting is of St Juliana of Nicomedia and you can read the Golden Ledgend account of her martyrdom here.

The painter is Domenico Feti (1589-1623), an Italian Baroque bad boy whose untimely death was probably a result of his excesses. He has a beautiful eye for humanity and to my mind is one of the finest baroque painters of women. St Juliana is totally unsexualised, despite the depictions of the torture she endured before her martyrdom which could lead to more racy depictions of the 4th Century martyr. He shows her with a devil who had been tempting her to make sacrifices to idols in order to be spared her fate. The devil lost. He truly looks "sick of sin". How did Juliana beat him? She looks to help from the Father, she looks to heaven. She didn't beat him with clever arguments, just trust and faith in God. It is unclear whether the irons at the bottom of the picture are those that will chain the martyr or those that chain the devil to his unreedemable, miserable state. She has bound him with the flimsiest of cloths, it is the Lord who has given her all the power she needs to overcome him. She is beautiful in her innocence and in her plainness and even dull appearance because she is illuminated by God. I think it is a great painting.

He also painted my favourite Mary Magdelene. She is modest, feminine and has obviously regained her lost innocence through her love of Christ. Surely this painter must have had a great devotion to her.

1 comment:

ukok said...

Oh crap. I just wrote a longish comment and it disappeared into the ether...just want to say, beautiful post, beautiful art, and that St. Juliana's example gives me the hope that I too can shine with God-radiance, despite being rather plain and extremely overweight!