Sunday, February 3, 2013

Everyday for Life Canada: Canada today needs a St. Vincent of Saragossa


Image Credit: Augustin Théodule Ribot, St. Vincent (of Saragossa), 19th Century.


I was pleased to find this story and the art that was shown in the January Magnificat online.   It's a moving story of a great saint which is found in this post by Everyday for Life Canada:

"A jet-black raven sits on the sunken abdomen of a dead man. Is this the mangled body of a soldier slain in combat? Ravens are scavengers. They are noted for feasting on the remains of the dead in battlefields, and as such they have become the symbol of death itself. But this raven is not devouring the body of the pale and wasted victim. He is protecting him. For this is no ordinary corpse. It is the body of a Saint, Vincent of Saragossa, the protomartyr of Spain...  

It is at this very point in the passion of Saint Vincent that the heroic saint expires. His body had been the locus of a furious battle between good and evil. He had survived all the tortures and challenged his executioners in the process. Dacian could not break Vincent’s spirit, so he sought to destroy what was left of his body. He had it thrown into a bog where wild animals would tear it to pieces. But a raven held sentry over the body and would let no other creature near it. It flapped its wings and cawed against all molesters.

This is the point in the story that Ribot chose to portray. Unlike medieval iconographers who were prone to illustrate every detailed torture of the saint, Ribot distills his depiction to one of sublime simplicity. The raven strikes a pose as if it were a rampant eagle. The body of the dead saint is sprawled on an ashen ground while an ethereal light coming from above caresses his corpse with a divine chiaroscuro. The painting’s style looks back to the Baroque artist Ribera for its dramatic inspiration, and yet it also bears the imprint of something very modern...."

[Read full story here]


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