"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.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Anniversary of the Death of the Venerable Matt Talbot


Matt Talbot - 2016
Terry Nelson
11 x 14 acrylic on canvas


Detail
Matt Talbot - 2016
Terry Nelson



This is the finished painting.  I made a few adjustments from the first published image.  The composition remains spare and uncluttered - a few religious mementos and scraps of paper, upon which it is said Matt would make spiritual notes - a small statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and holy cards of Therese and Catherine of Siena comprise the 'still life' of minutia on the mantel. Above these, a very small image of OL of Perpetual Help hanging by a string. Matt stands in front of the tall, narrow tenement mantel, upon which these poor possessions are displayed. Interrupted in his devotion, clutching a crucifix, he looks out at the viewer.  In this my third painting of Matt, I imagined him in the last year of his life. Those closest to him described him as an 'undersized, wiry man,' though strong and able-bodied, he worked as a laborer all his adult life. He died at the age of 69.

Matt Talbot (2 May 1856 – 7 June 1925)
Talbot was on his way to Mass on Trinity Sunday, 7 June 1925, when he collapsed and died of heart failure on Granby Lane in Dublin. Nobody at the scene was able to identify him. His body was taken to Jervis Street Hospital, where he was undressed, revealing the extent of his austerities. A chain had been wound around his waist, with more chains around an arm and a leg, and cords around the other arm and leg. The chains found on his body at death were not some extreme penitential regime but a symbol of his devotion to Mary, Mother of God that he wished to give himself to her totally as a slave. - Read more here.

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Just for fun.

Compare the unfinished work with the completed:


Unfinished work - 1st view:
Finished work:
 

9 comments:

  1. Well done, Terry. I really like the saturation in the finished work. It's deep without being dark.

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    1. Thanks Joshua - I did thin washes and concentrated on shaping the and shadowing.

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  2. Dear Terry,
    I've been reading your blog for years, but have never commented before. I love the finished painting of Matt..Being Irish myself, you've captured the peace in his soul through his holy eyes. This I have seen in the eyes of many holy men and women while growing up in Ireland during the 1970's.
    Peace to you soul,
    God bless,
    Fr. D.

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    Replies
    1. Fr. Damian, Thank you very much - your encouragement means more than I can say.

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  3. Those eyes. Still penetrating and seeing things we can't see.

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    1. Thanks Ang - in person, sometimes I look up and I'm startled by his gaze. It's like I never painted it.

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    2. I know icons are written - perhaps this was too.

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  4. Really, really wonderful Terry.

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