Friday, October 06, 2006

Iconography of the Saints

Here is a list of the saints who were presented by students in class, as well as the symbols associated with them:In addition, for our next exam, you should familiarize yourself with the following iconographical symbols, which will help you identify these important saints. Study the images carefully. On the test you will be asked to identify a saint by an image and to explain the origin and meaning of the iconographical symbol.

The Evangelists (these symbols come from the prophecy of Ezechiel 1:10: "And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox, on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four."):
  • Matthew (winged man)
  • Mark (lion, sometimes with wings)
  • Luke (ox, sometimes with wings)
  • John (eagle)
The Apostles (see El Greco's series of paintings, Apostolados):
  • Andrew (transverse cross, like an X)
  • Bartholomew (knife or flayed skin)
  • James the Greater (shell, or pilgrim's staff)
  • James the Less (club or a book)
  • John (snake in a chalice)
  • Jude (also called Thaddeus) (halberd or ship)
  • Matthew (purses)
  • Peter (keys)
  • Philip (cross in hand, or staff with cross)
  • Simon (saw, often with a fish on a book)
  • Thomas (carpenter's square, lance)
  • Timothy (club and stones)
  • Matthias (double-bladed ax)
  • Paul (sword)
The Martyrs (palm as the general sign of martyrdom):Other Saints:Other Symbols:
  • Pomegranate (Resurrection, bursting like the tomb): Botticelli, Madonna della Melagrana
  • Peacock (Resurrection, replaces feathers with brighter ones)
  • Lily (Easter)
  • Lamp (Word of God)
  • Daisy (innocence of child Jesus)
  • Rose (Nativity of Jesus)
For more informtion, see the excellent Patron Saints Index, particularly the Image Galleries of Saints.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Purification (February 2)

Take a look at this Outline of Christian Iconography.

The Purification in the Gospels

This story is only in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2 (Latin Vulgate and Douay-Rheims translation):
21 And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord:

23 As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord:

24 And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons:

25 And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him.

26 And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,

28 He also took him into his arms and blessed God and said

29 Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace:

30 Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples:

32 A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.

33 And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him.

34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted.

35 And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.

36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity.

37 And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day.

38 Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.

39 And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth.

40 And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Virgin and the Holy Family

This is a brief selection of unusual images of the Virgin Mary or the Holy Family.

The Virgin Pregnant with Jesus:
  • Piero della Francesca, Madonna del Parto (1467), Cappella del Cimitero, Monterchi, Italy, near Arezzo
Flight into Egypt:Madonna as Advocate (Haghiosoritissa):Madonna Nursing or with Young Child:Reclining Madonna:
  • Arnolfo di Cambio, Madonna (1296-1302), marble sculpture meant to be a part of a Nativity group, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence
See also The Cult of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages (from the Metropolitan Museum, New York) and Rare Portraits of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary in the Golden Legend:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Test Review

Our first exam will be on Monday, September 25. Please be familiar with the following:

Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend, Jacobus de Voragine)
Alban Butler (Lives of the Saints)
Feast Days (Beheading of John the Baptist, Nativity of Mary, Immaculate Conception, Annunciation)

Gospel accounts of the Annunciation (especially Luke)
Gospel accounts of John the Baptist (especially the beheading)
Golden legend, Nativity of Mary

Byzantine icons
Giotto, Life of Mary, Arena Chapel
El Greco

There will be an essay asking you to compare and contrast the religious aims of two different depictions of the same sacred scene. How do the artists use artistic techniques to impart different messages about saintly heroism?

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Annunciation in Byzantine Icons

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Annunciation Scenes

This list cannot possibly be complete and exhaustive. See also the full list of Images of the Annunciation from The Text This Week.