Tuesday, July 26, 2016

St. Anne Update – 2016

Bernardino Luini, St. Anne
Italian, 1523
Philadelphia, Museum of Fine Art
July 26th is the feast day of Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus.  They, especially St. Anne, have been important saints for most of the life of the Church and frequently featured in Christian art.  

Over several years I have posted various images of Saints Anne and Joachim.  The number keeps growing because, as the internet becomes a more widely available tool, the number of museums and libraries that are making their collections available online keeps growing.  Further, museums and libraries that were early participants in making collections available by releasing parts of their holdings keep adding to their online presence.  Since Anne and Joachim have been important for so long, we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg of images that probably exist.
 
Each year I propose to continue to add to the collection of images available through this blog as new ones become accessible.   I will endeavor to link these images with the essays about their iconological type which I did in 2011. 




So, now I present the 2016 additions to the iconography of St. Anne.


Jean Bellegambe, Pregnant St. Anne
French, c.1500
Douai, Musee de la Chartreuse






















Master of the Getty Epistles, Education of the Virgin Mary
from Book of Hours
French (Tours), 1525-1540
New York, Pierpont Morgan Library
MS M452, fol. 140r

Education of Virgin (ivory carving)
 (Chinese?), 17th century
Paris, Musee Guimet, Musee national des Arts asiatiques























Anna Selbdritt
German (Bavarian), 1472
Paris, Musee de Cluny, Musee nationale du  moyen age
Circle of Daniel Mauch, Anna Selbdritt
German, c.1500
Marseille_Musee Grobet Labadie






















Defendente Ferrari, Madonna and Child with St. Anne
Italian, 1528
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Dirk van Hoogstraten, Virgin and Child with St. Anne
Dutch, 1630
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum


























Jean Fouquet, Holy Kindred
from Hours of Etienne Chevalier
French (Tours), 1452-1460
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Nouvelle acquisition latine 1416

Master of the Legend of St. Anne, Holy Kindred
Netherlandish, 1475
Philadelphia, Museum of Art






















Master of the Legend of St. Anne, Holy Kindred
Netherlandish, 1475
Philadelphia, Museum of Art
Attributed to  Matthaeus Gutrecht the Younger, Holy Kindred
German, c.1500-1510
Philadelphia, Museum of Art





















Wood Carving, Holy Kindred
Austrian (Tyrol), c.1515-1520
London, Victoria and Albert Museum

Colin Nouailher, Holy Kindred
French, 1545
Paris, Musee du Louvre





















Jan Provost, St. Emerencia, Mother of St. Anne
Flemish, c.1500
Paris, Musee du Louvre

















St. Anne's mother, identified by the name of Emerencia or Emerantia, was often included in the Holy Kindred or the Anna Selbdritt images.  But, occasionally, she was accorded an image of her own.





Bartel Bruyn the Younger, Catharina von Siegen, nee Kannegiesser, with St. Anne and Virgin and Child
German, c..1565-1575
Philadelphia, Museum of Art





















 Prayer to Saint Anne
"O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen."



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Saint Margaret of Antioch – Dragon Slayer

Charles Alphonse Dufresnoy, St. Margaret of Antioch
French, 1656
Evreux, Musée d'Art Histoire et Archéologie
There are several women honored as saints or blesseds by the Catholic Church who are named Margaret.  For example, there are St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Margaret of Cortona, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Blessed Margaret Pole and St. Margaret Clitherow.   But all of them (and I myself) draw their names from a woman who may or may not have lived.  This is St. Margaret of Antioch,  who is remembered by the Church on July 20.  She is little remembered today, but was a major saint in the Middle Ages through the Baroque.
 
This first St. Margaret was reputedly born in Syria, in the area around Antioch.  Antioch is a city with a long, long Christian tradition.  Indeed, it is in Antioch that the followers of the new way in Judaism were first called “Christians”.  It is the city that saw saints Peter and Paul preach and is the city of one of the best known of the very early Christian martyrs, St. Ignatius of Antioch.   Ignatius was bishop of Antioch (the third ever, the first being St. Peter) in the latter decades of the first century and his letters tell us much about the beliefs and disciplines of the early Church.   The letters we have were written while he was in transit, under guard, from Antioch to Rome, where he died, as he had expressly hoped, torn to pieces by the big cats of the new Flavian Amphitheatre (which we know as the Colosseum).1  With this background, it is not surprising that a young woman named Margaret, who was a Christian, may have been born near the city, 
Guercino, St. Margaret of Antioch
Italian, c. 1630
Rome, S. Pietro in Vincoli

Margaret is, in fact, a name with deep roots in the Middle East, for it is derived from the Persian word for “pearl”.  In many languages there is a close association between the words for pearl and daisy.2  In French, for example, daisies are known as “marguerites”.  And women with the name Margaret have sometimes been gifted with the nickname “Daisy” in addition to the more common Margie, Maggie and Meg.  So, Margaret, probably in the sense of pearl, would not be an unusual name to find in a Syrian woman.

Chances are that there may have been an early Christian woman martyr in Syria or southern Anatolia named Margaret during one of the persecutions that beset the Church in the Roman Empire.  However, as with many of the early saints her story became embellished over time with stories of horrendous cruelties and fairytale elements.  In Margaret’s case these elements came to completely overshadow her human story.
    
According to the legend, Margaret was born on Antioch near the end of the third century, the daughter of a priest of one of the pagan cults, presumably for one of the gods or goddesses of the Roman pantheon.  Since her mother died when she was a baby, she was given to a wet nurse to raise.  The woman happened to be a Christian and introduced Margaret to the faith.
Jean Fouquet, St. Margaret of Antioch Spinning Wool
from Hours of Etienne Chevalier
French (Tours), ca. 1450-1460
Paris, Musee du Louvre
MS MI 1093

On her coming of age, she was requested in marriage by a high ranking Roman official.  She refused him and refused to renounce her faith as well.  For this she was tortured (in some pretty horrific ways) and thrown into prison.  In prison she was attacked by Satan in two forms.  First, as a handsome young man who attempted to persuade her to surrender to the pleasures of the flesh.  Having failed at that, he decided to try terror, assumed the form of a dragon and swallowed her whole. 

Richard de Montbaston, Martyrdom of Margaret of Antioch
from Golden Legend by Jacobus de VoragineFrench (Paris), 1348
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Français 241, fol.159v
Nothing daunted, Margaret either cut her way out of the dragon with a cross she had been holding when swallowed, or was miraculously released by the spontaneous explosion of the dragon when she made the sign of the cross from within his stomach.  For this reason, she is most frequently shown holding a cross and with a dead or dying dragon at her feet.

However, this reprieve was only temporary.  She was eventually beheaded during the persecution of Diocletian (303-305).4


Margaret was an extremely popular saint during the medieval period and remained so into the Renaissance and Baroque periods.  She is the patron saint of a number of things and events, including pregnant women and childbirth.

In art we see different aspects of her life.  Sometimes she is shown as a shepherdess or wool worker, a reference to the supposed occupation of her foster mother.
Mahiet and Collaborators, St. Margaret of Antioch
as a Shepherdess
from Speculum historiale by Vincentius Bellovacensis
French (Paris), c.1335_
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de FrBNF_Arsenal 5080_288

Francisco de Zurbaran, St. Margaret of Antioch
as a Shepherdess
Spanish, 1630-1634
London, National Gallery




















At other times it is the scene of her eventual martyrdom that we are shown.
Master of the Roman de Fauvel, Martyrdom of St. Margaret
from Vies de Saints
French (Paris), 1300-1325
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Français 183, fol. 86v
This miniature shows both her escape from the dragon and
her martyrdom.

Lodovico Carracci, Martyrdom of St. Margaret
Italian, 1616
Mantua, San Maurizio, Cappella di Santa Margherita




















At times she is seen in her place in heaven as a martyr saint.  Here the dragon may appear as one of her attributes but always as a subdued, barely hinted at presence.    What is more important is the cross or martyr's palm that she holds.  She also is frequently shown holding a book.
St. Margaret of Antioch
Spanish (Burgos), c.1275-1325
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

St. Margaret of Antioch
Catalan (Lleida), 1330-1340
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters




















St. Margaret of Antioch
from Cologne Missal
German (Cologne), 1150
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
 MS Latin 12055, fol. 164v

Rogier van der Weyden, Saints Margaret and Apollonia
Flemish, 1445-1450
Berlin, Staatliche Museen

Jacques de Besançon, The Court of Heaven
from Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine
French (Paris), 1480-1490
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Français 244, fol.156
In this image Margaret takes her place among
the front ranks of the female martyrs.  
She stands in the first row, wearing a
 dark blue dress and brownish cloak 
and carrying a cross over her right shoulder.

























Annibale Carracci, St. Margaret of Antioch
Italian, 1597-1599
Rome, S. Caterina della Rosa

Peter Candid, St. Margaret of Antioch
Flemish, ca. 1600
Private Colletion




















Jan Brueghel I, St. Margaret of Antioch
Flemish, 1600-1625
Private Collection


Ernest Hebert, St. Margaret of Antioch
French, c. 1877
Paris, Musee national Ernest Hebert


















But, primarily she is seen in relation to her victory over the devil/dragon.  These images come from all the time periods.  Sometimes the dragon is a truly fierce monster, but quite frequently he is seen almost as a pet. Sometimes, Margaret is seen to be popping out of the dragon.  At other times she has already been completely liberated.  At still others she is standing victoriously atop the beast.

St. Margaret Emerging from the dragon
from Livre d'images de Madame Marie
Belgian (Hainaut), 1285-1290
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 100
St. Margaret Emerging from the dragon
from Sermons of Maurice de Sully
Italian (Milan or Genoa), 1320-1330
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Français 187, fol. 41























Workshop of Agnolo Gaddi, St. Margaret of Antioch
Italian, c.1390
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
In this image Margaret is being ejected by the
dragon by mouth rather than bursting through his belly.


Master of Marguerite d'Orléans, St. Margaret of Antioch
from Heures de Marguerite d'Orléans
French (Rennes), c. 1430
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Latin 1156 B, fol. 176
I suggest that you click on this image to enlarge it so you won't miss the detail of Margaret as a shepherdess in the right side of the margin and the two rather charming little dragons in the bottom margin who are looking up approvingly at the devil's discomfiture.
St. Margaret of Antioch
French (Toulouse), c. 1475
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jean Bourdichon, St. Margaret of Antioch
from Grandes heures d'Anne de Bretagne
French (Tours), 1503-1508
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France
MS Latin 9474, 205v




















The dragons in these two images seem almost domesticated, almost pet-like.

Workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli, St. Margaret of Antioch
Majolica dish
Italian, 1527
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lehman Collection






Obviously, this was one little bit of fantasy that painters and sculptors (and even potters) could relate to, a kind of comic relief in their usual work of preparing images of the martyr saints that were often far from comic.








However, Raphael (known through several copies by his students, such as Giulio Romano) and Titian suggest that there may have been a struggle to escape from the dragon.

Giulio Romano (after Raphael), St. Margaret of Antioch
Italian, c. 1518
Paris, Musee du Louvre
Titian, St. Margaret of Antioch
Italian, 1565
Madrid, Museo del Prado





















Studio of Giacomo Ceruti. St. Margaret of Antioch
Italian, c. 1700
Private Collection
At the end of the seventeenth century, an artist working in the circle of Giacomo Ceruti imagined the vanquished demon as partially returned to human form, a much more unsettling image for we see Satan resuming his appearance as a fallen angel.



Even given the comic relief aspect, there is a deeper reference here, one with a Biblical foundation. For, it refers to what had been foretold in the book of Genesis, when God rebuked the "snake" who tempted Eve to sin "Then the LORD God said to the snake:  Because you have done this, cursed are you among all the animals, tame or wild; On your belly you shall crawl, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel."  (Genesis 3:14-15)  The dragon that devoured Margaret is the same snake that tempted Eve, both are personifications of Satan, the Devil, the Enemy who is both an enemy to God and to humanity.  Margaret is here seen as a reflection of the Virgin Mary, the quintessential "woman" of Genesis and of Revelation and the Second Eve, who, with the offspring of both her body (Jesus) and her faith (Margaret, the saints, and by extension, all Christians) will strike at his head. 5

© M. Duffy, 2016
_________________________________________________________

  1.       For St. Ignatius of Antioch see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07644a.htm, which includes links to his letters.  O'Connor, John Bonaventure. "St. Ignatius of Antioch." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 20 Jul. 2016
  2.         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret
  3.           The story of the dragon was too much of a strain on the credulity of Jacobus de Voragine, who was quite happy with a great many other fantastic stories.  In his The Golden Legend, written in  he says “This swallowing and breaking of the belly of the dragon is said that it is apocryphal.” From The GOLDEN LEGEND or LIVES of the SAINTS, Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275 First Edition Published 1470, ENGLISHED by WILLIAM CAXTON, First Edition 1483, VOLUME FOUR.  From the Temple Classics Edited by F.S. ELLIS First issue of this Edition, 1900 Reprinted 1922, 1931< http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/goldenlegend/GoldenLegend-Volume4.asp&gt
  4.        MacRory, Joseph. "St. Margaret." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 20 Jul. 2016 .
  5. For more on the connections between the snake, the Virgin Mary and both Genesis and Revelations, see the articles "Annunciation – The World Created Anew" and "The Immaculate Conception" 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Summer of Turner in New York

J.M.W. Turner, Fishing Boats Entering Calais Harbor
English, c.1803
New York, Frick Collection
Anyone interested in the works of Joseph Mallord William Turner can have a very interesting experience this summer on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  Strung like a line of beads between the Frick Collection at 70th and Fifth and the Metropolitan Museum Main Building at 82nd and Fifth, with an intermediate stop at the recently opened Met Breuer at Madison and 75th, is a collection of Turners, ranging from early through late works and including some interesting insights into his working style.

J.M.W. Turner, The Harbor of Dieppe
English, c.1826
New York, Frick Collection






Interest in Turner ebbs and flows, but was given a bit of a boost last year with the distribution of the film Mr. Turner, starring Timothy Spall as the somewhat enigmatic and frequently strange painter of light effects.  So, it is interesting to see so many of his works available for view in New York.


The curious viewer can begin at the Frick with their permanent collection of five early works, ranging in date from 1803 to 1833.  

In most of these the forms are solid and the skies distinguishable.  These are the works that won Turner his initial fame as a landscape painter in the early 19th century.

J.M.W. Turner, Saltash with the Water Ferry, Cornwall
English, 1811
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art






At the Met main building two works from that permanent collection which also bracket the early period are on display in the nineteenth-century European galleries, but it is the two special exhibitions that are ongoing, at the main building and at the Breuer, that are the most interesting. 
J.M.W. Turner, Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Salute
English, c.1835
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art















The Met is celebrating the opening of its new extension, the Breuer Building (once the home of the Whitney Museum), with a blockbuster exhibition called “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible”.  This exhibition explores the differing meanings of unfinished in the works of artists from the Renaissance to the present.  It is a large and impressive show which I have visited three times so far and plan to write about shortly.  However, enclosed within that show is a mini-exhibition of five Turner paintings.  When I say “enclosed” I am using the verb in a precise sense. 
J.M.W. Turner, Sun Setting Over a Lake
English, c.1840
© 2016, Tate, London












J.M.W. Turner, Sunset from the Top of the Rigi
English, c.1844
© 2016 Tate, London







The five paintings are presented by themselves in a small gallery within the main third floor galleries.  They are “unfinished”, presumably because of the artist’s death before he could complete them, and they offer us a fascinating glimpse into Turner’s working style. 


In one sense, especially to our 21st century eyes, they are already complete renditions of atmospheric conditions, from fiery sunsets on a lake to misty pastel hued sunsets on top of a Swiss mountain to a view of the Thames to the inevitable seascapes showing nature’s fury.

But what they really are is something different.  

J.M.W. Turner, The Thames above Waterloo Bridge
English, c.1835-1840
© 2016, Tate, London




They are stockpiled backgrounds, ready for the final touches that will turn them into one of Turner’s completed late paintings.









J.M.W. Turner, Margate (?), from the Sea
English, c.1835-1840
London, National Gallery
This may be the way in which he was able to produce the huge quantity of paintings he made during his lifetime, by stockpiling “backgrounds” until he had the time or inspiration or interest to complete the work, sometimes with just a few additional brushstrokes.  And they rather prove that, for Turner, the subject matter was virtually unimportant.  It was the background that counted.  




J.M.W. Turner, Rough Sea
English, c.1840-1845
© 2016 Tate, London















What these paintings would look like when completed can be seen in the later paintings in the permanent collections at the Met and the Frick as well as in the final piece of this summer’s Turner jigsaw of exhibitions.  This is the exhibition “Turner’s Whaling Pictures”, a small show on display in the European Painting galleries at the Met’s main building at Fifth and 82nd Street.

The exhibition features four paintings, which Turner showed as pairs at the Royal Academy over two successive years in the 1840s.  He was, therefore, thinking of them as a group.  
J.M.W. Turner, Whalers
English, c. 1845
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund


J.M.W. Turner, Whalers
English, c.1845
London, Tate Gallery















One belongs to the Metropolitan Museum, the other three are on loan from the Tate (as are
four of the five paintings on display at the Met Breuer).

When one compares the two exhibitions, it is easy to see how, with just a few touches, the background canvas could be transformed into the final painting.  There is nothing in the backgrounds of the whaling pictures that distinguishes them from the seascape backgrounds of the unfinished show except the addition, usually in the foreground or middle distance of some shadowy images that indicate whales, or whale boats or whaling ships.

Comparing them also shows how difficult it can be to assign a date to some of Turner's paintings, since the background may have been done months or even years prior to the brushwork that created the suitably acceptable subject and title required by the public at the time. This is not to say that Turner’s often long and poetic titles were entirely conventional and without controversy.
J.M.W. Turner, Hurrah! for the Whaler Erebus! Another Fish!
English, c. 1846
London, Tate Gallery
J.M.W. Turner, Whalers (Boiling Blubber) Entangled in Flow Ice,
Endeavoring to Extricate Themselves
English, c. 1846
London, Tate Gallery

















The works on display at the Frick Collection and in the nineteenth-century galleries at the Met Fifth Avenue building are in those locations indefinitely.  However, the “Whaling Pictures” will only be at the Met Fifth Avenue until August 7 and the four paintings in the “Unfinished” show will only be at the Met Breuer until September 4.  So, if you are interested, don’t hesitate to visit.  It could be a fascinating experience. 

© M. Duffy, 2016