"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Madonna for Haiti

If I ever finish the two paintings I am working on, I think I will try to paint a copy of this Sicilian icon in honor of the victims of the Haitian earthquake.
The image is 17th century, oil on copper, inventoried in the Vatican Museums collection. It is a variation on the Carmine La Bruna Madonna, although this version is extraordinary in that the features of Our Lady and the Divine Child appear to be African. The contrast seems to be deliberate considering the figures in purgatory are decidedly Caucasian. 
I am especially pleased to have found an authentic Black Madonna of such beauty.  Of course one is reminded of the verse from the Song of Songs, attributed to Our Lady:  "I am black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem... " - Songs 1:5
Continued prayers for the victims of the Haitian earthquake.
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  1. Anonymous6:04 AM

    'If I ever finish the two paintings I am working on, I think I will try to paint a copy of this Sicilian icon in honor of the victims of the Haitian earthquake.'

    WONDERFUL! Just what I was thinking as I watched the bodies piling up and the homeless people fighting over a bottle of water - what these people need is a painting of a Sicilian madonna!

  2. Oh, I'm glad you agree.

  3. Terry: Tremendous idea!

  4. Oh thank you Cath, I'm happy you agree with Anonymous.

  5. That is one ugly picture.

    It implies there are no blacks in Purgatory because they are all burning in Hell....

    Do you just gotta have a black Madonna? Okay.


    That is one ugly picture.

  6. Pablo - I saw your profile photo.

  7. Mr. Nelson,

    Thanks. That's the best comeback I've seen in a long time.

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    Thanks for the great info and entertainment.



  8. Terry: I don't think that's an ugly image, at all. But my profile picture is, well, nevermind...!
    I hope I can see this in person when you have completed it...gave me inspiration to get back to iconography; been out of it for a while for various reasons. It is truly a lovely image of our Lady.
    Oil on copper? That is fascinating...the whole "thing" with not using oil by some in the Eastern tradition is something I have not quite understood; something about it being too "secular", "sensual" or whatever (this particular attitude eschews the whole development of Western art as sacrilege, but that's another story).
    Anyway, thanks!


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