Monday, July 24, 2017

12 Mexico Icons, scenes from the Bible, with footnotes # 10

 SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
MEXICO, LATE 19th CENTURY
Oil on metallic sheet
35.5 x 25.5
Private Collection

Saint George (circa 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was a soldier in the Roman army who later became venerated as a Christian martyr. His parents were Christians of Greek background; his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was from Lydda, Syria Palaestina. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith.

In the fully developed Western version of the Saint George Legend, a dragon, or crocodile, makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in Palistine, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity. Mor

THE MARRIAGE OF THE VIRGIN
MEXICO, EARLY 18th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
144 x 90 cm
Private Collection

The Marriage of the Virgin is the subject in Christian art depicting the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. Unlike many other scenes in Life of the Virgin cycles (like the Nativity of Mary and Presentation of Mary), it is not a feast in the church calendar.

In art the subject could be covered in several different scenes, and the betrothal of Mary, with Joseph's blossoming rod, was often shown, despite its apocryphal origin. Wedding processions are also shown, especially in the Early Medieval period. More The Marriage of the Virgin

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS CHRIST
MEXICO, 17th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
160.5 x 112.5 cm
Private Collection

The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of his public ministry. This event is described in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not directly describe Jesus' baptism.

Most modern theologians view the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as a historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. Along with the crucifixion of Jesus, most biblical scholars view it as one of the two historically certain facts about him, and often use it as the starting point for the study of the historical Jesus. More The baptism of Jesus

ATTRIBUTED TO A JUAN CORRE
(MEXICO, ACT. 1646 - 1716)
SAINT SIMON
Oil on canvas
110 x 81.5 cm 
Private Collection

Juan Correa (1646–1716) was a Mexican painter of mixed Moorish or African, Indian and Spanish heritage. His years of greatest activity were from 1671 to 1716. He painted many religious-themed, Baroque paintings for cathedrals in Mexico. Correa was José de Ibarra's teacher. Correa, along with contemporaries Miguel Cabrera and Cristóbal de Villalpando are important examples of 17th century Mexican Baroque painting. More Juan Correa

St. Simon or Simeon is described as one of our Lord's brethren or kinsmen. His father was Cleophas, St. Joseph's brother, and his mother, according to some writers, was our Virgin Mary's sister. He wais supposed to have been about eight years older than Jesus. St. Epiphanius says that when the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser, his brother Simeon upbraided them for their cruelty. The apostles and disciples afterwards met together to appoint a successor to James as bishop of Jerusalem, and they unanimously chose Simeon, who had probably assisted his brother in the government of that church. 

In the year 66 civil war broke out in Palestine, as a consequence of Jewish opposition to the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned of the impending destruction of the city and ordered to leave it. Accordingly that same year, before Vespasian entered Judaea, they retired with St. Simeon at their head to the other side of the Jordan, occupying a small city called Pella. After the capture and burning of Jerusalem, the Christians returned and settled among the ruins until the Emperor Hadrian afterwards entirely razed it. When Vespasian and Domitian had ordered the destruction of all who were of the race of David, St. Simeon had escaped their search; but when Trajan gave a similar injunction, he was denounced as being not only one of David's descendants, but also a Christian, and he was brought before Atticus, the Roman governor. He was condemned to death and, after being tortured, was crucified. Although he was extremely old - tradition reports him to have attained the age of 120 - Simeon endured his sufferings with a degree of fortitude which roused the admiration of Atticus himself. More St. Simon

SAINT PETER OF ALCALA WITH A DONOR
MEXICO, 18th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
115.5 x 72 cm
Private Collection

SAINT ANNE, 
MEXICO, 18th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
112 x 58 cm
Private Collection

Saint Anne (also known as Ann or Anna) of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ, according to apocryphal Christian and Islamic tradition. Mary's mother is not named in the canonical gospels, nor in the Qur'an. Anne's name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James (written perhaps around 150) seems to be the earliest that mentions them. More on Saint Anne

JUAN DE VILLALOBOS, (MEXICO, ACT. 1687-1724)
SAINT ILDEFONSO
Oil on canvas
154.5 x 81 cm
Private Collection

Saint Ildefonsus, born circa 607, died 23 January 667, was a scholar and theologian who served as the metropolitan Bishop of Toledo for the last decade of his life. 

Although his writings were less influential outside of Hispania, Ildefonsus was canonised and remained a potent force in the peninsula for centuries. Spanish and Portuguese missionaries spread his cult worldwide.

Ildefonsus was born to a prominent Visigothic family in Toledo during the reign of Witteric.[Civil wars racked the Visigothic kingdom during most of Ildefonsus' life. His uncle Eugenius, who later became Toledo's bishop, began educating the devout youth. Ildefonsus began his religious career circa 632 when Bishop Eladius of Toledo ordained him as a deacon. However, Ildefonse defied his family's plans for his clerical career by becoming a monk at the Agali monastery outside the city. While he was still a simple monk, he founded and endowed a monastery of nuns.  In 650 Ildefonsus was elected its abbot of Agali. In that capacity, he attended two synods of the Iberian church, the 8th and 9th Councils of Toledo. When his uncle Bishop Eugenius II died in 657, Ildefonsus was elected his successor as bishop of Toledo. King Recceswinth compelled him to accept the position.

At the end of the eighth century Cixila, Archbishop of Toledo, relates that Ildephonsus was praying one day before the relics of Saint Leocadia when the martyr arose from her tomb and thanked the saint for the devotion he showed towards the Mother of God.

It was reported that on 18 December 665 he experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin when she appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honouring her. As Bishop Ildefonsus and the congregation sang Marian hymns, light engulfed the church, causing most worshippers to flee. The bishop, remaining with a few deacons, saw Mary descend and sit on the episcopal throne. More on Saint Ildefonsus

Villalobos, Juan de (1687-1724) was married in Puebla in 1687 and died in that city on July 4, 1724. He was a renowned painter in the Puebla-Tlaxcala region, leaving a total of 38 signed paintings. However, his greatest merit was the set of canvases that frame the dressing room of Ocotlán of 1723, a year before dying, these pictures represent scenes of the Life of the Virgin. (The Virgin of Ocotlán is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ocotlán, Tlaxcala, Mexico. The Virgin of Ocotlán is the patron saint of Tlaxcala and the neighbouring state of Puebla. She was crowned by the Pope on 31 July 1909).  More on Villalobos

HOLY FAMILY
PERUVIAN SCHOOL, EARLY 19th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
20 x 208.5 cm
Private Collection

The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. Veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Saint François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, who founded a Confraternity.

Matthew and Luke narrate the episodes from this period of Christ's life, namely his Circumcision and later Presentation, the Flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the Finding in the Temple.[Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, as Luke narrates that they brought Jesus with them on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem with other Jewish families. More on The Holy Family 

VIRGIN OF THE APOCALYPSE
MEXICO, LATE 18th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
61 x 49 cm, oval
Private Collection

Madonna of the Apocalypse. Images of the Virgin as the woman of the Apocalypse became extremely popular in the late 1400s and were produced in large numbers after Sixtus IV granted an indulgence of 11,000 years for each specific prayer said in front of one of them. Mary was often called the second Eve, who, by giving birth to Christ, brought redemption to humankind. More Madonna of the Apocalypse

In this narrative the woman gives birth to a male child that is attacked by the Dragon identified as the Devil and Satan. When the child is taken to heaven, the woman flees into the wilderness leading to "War in Heaven" in which the angels cast out the Dragon. The Dragon attacks the woman, who is given wings to escape, and then attacks her again with a flood of water from his mouth, which is subsequently swallowed by the earth. Frustrated, the dragon initiates war on "the remnant of her seed" identified as the righteous followers of Christ.

The Woman of the Apocalypse is widely identified as the Virgin Mary. This interpretation is held by the ancient Church as well as in the medieval and modern Roman Catholic Church. This view does not negate the alternative interpretation of the Woman representing the Church, as in modern Catholic dogma, Mary is herself considered both the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church (while in Reformed theology and traditions that are averse to Marian veneration, the interpretation of the Woman represents the naturally predominate church). More Woman of the Apocalypse

OUR LADY OF REFUGE
MEXICO, 18th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
85 x 72 cm 
Private Collection

Refugium Peccatorum meaning Refuge of Sinners is a Roman Catholic title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Roman Catholic tradition, Eve is viewed as being responsible for the sufferings of humans since their fall and expulsion from paradise while the Virgin Mary is viewed as the source of all healing. She is the new Eve, who cannot eliminate the damage created by Eve, but limit it. Her fullness of grace, her position among the disciples of Christ and her title as Mother of God are seen as assurances that the Virgin Mary is a powerful intercesso. More on Our Lady of Refuge

Roque Chavez Fecit 
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
MEXICO, 19th CENTURY
Oil on canvas
16 x 66 cm
Private Collection

Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1531 a "Lady from Heaven" appeared to a humble Native American at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City. She identified herself as the virgin Holy Mary. 

She made a request for a church to be built on the site, and submitted her wish to the local Bishop. When the Bishop hesitated, and requested her for a sign, the Mother of God obeyed without delay or question to the Church's local Bishop, and sent her native messenger to the top of the hill in mid-December to gather an assortment of roses for the Bishop. 

After complying to the Bishop's request for a sign, She also left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on the native's tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth, which should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay 485 years later and still defies all explanations of its origin. More on Our Lady of Guadalupe

SAINT MICHAEL
MEXICO, LATE 19th CENTURY
Oil on metallic sheet
25 x 18 cm
Private Collection

ARCHANGEL MICHAEL, is an archangel in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions, he is called "Saint Michael the Archangel" and "Saint Michael". In the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox traditions, he is called "Taxiarch Archangel Michael" or simply "Archangel Michael".

Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a "great prince who stands up for the children of your people". The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that, in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy.

In the New Testament Michael leads God's armies against Satan's forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as "the archangel Michael". Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches. Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations.





Acknowledgement: Morton Subastas

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