Saturday, September 15, 2018

Mother of Sorrows

"Mater Dolorosa" 20x20", oil on stretched canvas

Is there one who would not weep,
'Whelmed in miseries so deep, 
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother's pain untold?

Stabat Mater - 13th-century medieval Latin hymn 
on the suffering of the Virgin Mary at the Crucifixion.

This painting is an ekphrastic response to a photograph—a friend of mine took—of a statue of Blessed Mary found in the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Mary is holding the lifeless body of her Son, who has been placed in her arms, after being taken down from the cross. 

I have rarely seen Mary depicted crying, and was deeply moved by her tearful eyes as she experienced her deepest sorrow, as foretold by Simeon at Christ's Presentation, "And you yourself a  sword will pierce". This is a grief which can only be known by a mother who has experienced the loss of a child, especially her only child. 

Here are some of stages of development:

#1. Drawing and initial block in
of Mary's face and darkest darks
#2. Begin working on skin tones, Jesus barely
visible in lower corner, background and lightest areas
#3. Further development of Mary's skin
tones, folds of fabric  
#4. Finalized, added the foot of the cross
behind Mary.

As our mother, Mary also shares in the sorrow and pain of today's world. It gives me great hope to know she is here, and suffers right alongside all of us, in the darkness of our world. She is a light of hope, the perfect example of strength, faith, trust and courage to hold onto. 

I have worked on this piece for over a year. Today is the Memorial of our Sorrowful Mother, so it seems fitting to present my/our Mother. 


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