05 Works, February 20th, is Saint Leo of Catania’s Day, With Footnotes – #50

Unknown iconographer
St. Leo, Bishop of Catania, Sicily

Private collection

Icon with water-gilding on plywood. The wood has been prepared in heat and gilded with gold leaf 24K, in accordance with traditional Byzantine techniques. The icon has been painted with egg-tempera paints for best performance and endurance of colors used. The colors were chosen based on studies and analyses of older icons by renowned iconographers, after ARTIS had first conducted conservation treatments on them. More on this work

Saint Leo of Catania, nicknamed the Thaumaturgus, also known as St Leo the Wonderworker in Sicily (May 703 or 709–20 February 789) lived at the time of the first persecutions of the holy icons. He was born in Ravenna to a noble family, and became bishop of his native city. Soon his reputation spread, and he was elected Bishop of Catania in Sicily. As is so often true even today, the city, though nominally Christian, was plagued by superstition and paganism. The holy bishop set about to turn the people away from error: by his prayers he caused a pagan temple to collapse and built a church on its site, dedicated to the Forty Maryrs of Sebaste…

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05 Works, February 14th, is Lupercalia/ Saint Valentine’s Day, With Footnotes – #45

Maria Rachele Branca
Lupercus, Lupercus, the protector of the harvest and farmers

Mixed technique on canvas
80×60 cm
I have no further description, at this time

In a refined contrast with a material background, the delicate and idealized line of Maria Rachele Branca , which distinguishes her style in the lyricism of a mythologized folklore, suspends the scene in the allusion to the invasive sound of the flute which bewitches the nymph sitting on it next to. And precisely in underlining its predatory instinct, the canvas accentuates the potential for prosperity of LUPERCUS FAUNUS in a good omen invoked for the territory. More on this painting

Lupercalia was an ancient pastoral annual festival observed in the city of Rome between February 13 and February 15, to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.

At the Lupercal altar, a male goat and a dog were sacrificed by one or another of the Luperci, under the supervision of the Flamen dialis, Jupiter’s chief priest, after which two of the Luperci were led to the altar, their foreheads were touched with a bloody knife, and the blood was wiped off with wool dipped in milk Next the Luperci cut thongs from the flayed skin of the animal, and ran with these, naked or near-naked, in an anticlockwise direction around the hill. These gross whips were called, februare.

Maria Rachele «Since I was a child I had a passion for artistic expression which manifested itself with a particular talent in drawing. So when it came time to choose the address for high school I chose the Art Institute even if it meant taking the bus from Bagnoli every morning at dawn. I began to develop a bond with art, but I didn’t think of myself as an artist, I felt a strong pleasure in entering the churches of my small town, studying its culture, learning the traditions of the area»…

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04 Works, February 11th, is Our Lady of Lourdes’s Day, With Footnotes – #42

Our Lady of Lourdes
I have no further description, at this time

Our Lady of Lourdes is a Roman Catholic title of the Virgin Mary venerated in honour of the Marian apparitions that reportedly occurred in 1858 in the vicinity of Lourdes in France. The first of these is the apparition of 11 February 1858, when 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous told her mother that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend.

Soubirous claimed she saw “a petite damsel,” in white, with a golden rosary and blue belt fastened around her waist, and two golden roses at her feet. In subsequent visitations she heard the lady asking that a chapel be built there…

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08 works, Today, December 28th, is The 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia’s day, their story, illustrated #360

Troganov school
Detail; Saint Cyril, c. 17th C

Russian I con
Church-Archaeological Office of the Moscow Theological Academy.

Stroganov School is a conventional name for the last major Russian icon-painting school, which thrived under the patronage of the rich Stroganov family of merchants in the late 16th and 17th century.

“Stroganov School” owes its name to frequent mentioning of the Stroganovs on the markings on the back of the icons of Yemelyan Moskvitin, Stefan Pakhirya, Prokopy Chirin, Istoma, Nazariy, and Nikifor Saviny. Most of these icon painters, however, did not belong to the Stroganov School. They were icon painters from Moscow and executed commissions by the tsar. Many of their works were eventually acquired by the Stroganovs, who had been known as connoisseurs of sophisticated craftsmanship.

The works of art of the Stroganov School have quite a few features in common, such as small size, diminutiveness, refined palette, density of paint layers, graphic precision of details, fragile characters’ postures and gestures, richness of their vestments, and complicated landscape background. More on the Stroganov School

The 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia refers to victims of persecution of Christians in Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern Izmit, Turkey) by the Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in the early 4th century AD.

At this time the bishop of the city of Nicomedia was Saint Cyril, whose preaching had greatly contributed to the spread of the Gospel…

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19 Works, December 28th. is Alessandro Rosi’s day, his art, illustrated with footnotes #256

Alessandro Rosi (1627–1697) Blue pencil.svg wikidata:Q3610263
St Sébastien cared for by Ste Irene

Oil on canvas
Height: 132 cm (51.9 in); Width: 167.5 cm (65.9 in)
Brest’s Museum of Fine Arts

Sebastian stood by a staircase where the emperor was to pass and harangued Diocletian for his cruelties against Christians. This freedom of speech greatly astonished the emperor; who gave orders for his being seized and beaten to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Irene, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus, where now stands the Basilica of St. Sebastian. More on St. Sebastian

Alessandro Rosi (28 December 1627 in Rovezzano — 19 April 1697 in Florence) was an Italian artist, working during the Baroque period…

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09 works, Today, December 25th, is Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar’s day, their story, illustrated #357

Andrea Mantegna, (1431–1506)
The Adoration of the Magi, c. between 1495 and 1505

Oil on canvas
Height: 486 mm (19.1 in); Width: 656 mm (25.8 in)
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

Andrea Mantegna ( c. 1431 — September 13, 1506) was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son-in-law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g. by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality. His flinty, metallic landscapes and somewhat stony figures give evidence of a fundamentally sculptural approach to painting. He also led a workshop that was the leading producer of prints in Venice before 1500. More on Andrea Mantegna

Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar were distinguished foreigners in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition…

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06 works, Today, December 24th, is Adela of Normandy’s day, her story, illustrated #356

Unknown artist
Saint Adela of Normandy, Patron Saint

Oil on canvas
I have no further description, at this time

Adela of Normandy, of Blois, or of England (c. 1067 – 8 March 1137), also known as Saint Adela in Roman Catholicism, was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders who later became the Countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux by marriage to Stephen II, Count of Blois. The couple had ten children – five sons and five daughters. She was mother of Stephen, king of England, whose right to the throne derived through her…

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09 works, Today, December 16th, is Saint Adelaide of Italy’s, day, her story, illustrated #349

Tracy L. Christianson
St. Adelaide

I have no further description, at this time

Tracy L. Christianson: “I’m a self taught artist who has loved drawing people for as long as I can remember. While working as a graphic artist /designer, I did portraiture on the side. My future lead me to combining my beautiful Catholic faith and love of portraiture to drawing portraits of the saints. Each saint has a fascinating story to tell and I love creating their portrait and spreading devotion to them. There are over 10,000 canonized saints in the Catholic Church so I should never run out of subject matter.​

I have over 430 saints currently in my collection and new ones are added every month. All are available for sale online at PortraitsofSaints.com

Adelaide of Italy (931–16 December 999 AD), also called Adelaide of Burgundy,
was born in the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy (Switzerland), she was the daughter of Rudolf II of Burgundy…

08 works, Today, December 12th, is Saint Agatha of Sicily’s day, her story, illustrated #345

Andrea Vaccaro, (1604–1670)
Detail; Saint Agatha, circa 1635

Oil on canvas
Height: 128.5 cm (50.5 in); Width: 101 cm (39.7 in)
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Agatha of Sicily (c. 231 — c. 251 AD) is a Christian saint. Her memorial is on 5 February. Agatha was born in Catania or Palermo, Sicily. One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Agatha was put to death during the persecution of Decius (250–253) in Catania, Sicily, for her determined profession of faith.

According to the 13th-century Golden Legend, fifteen-year-old Agatha, from a rich and noble family, made a vow of virginity and rejected the amorous advances of the Roman prefect Quintianus, who thought he could force her to turn away from her vow and marry him. His persistent proposals were consistently spurned by Agatha. This was during the persecutions of Decius, so Quintianus, knowing she was a Christian, reported her to the authorities. Quintianus himself was governor of the district…

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09 works, Today, December 4th, is Saint John the Silent, يوحنا الدمشقي day, his story, illustrated #337

Unknown iconographer
Saint John with his adoptive brother Cosmas

I have no further description, at this time

The city of Damascus in Syria fell to the Muslims in 635. At the time of the Caliph Abdul-Malik, responsibility for government of the Christian population was given to Sergius Mansur, a prominent Christian of the city. Sergius strove to govern in a godly way under the many disabilities imposed by the Caliph, and devoted his wealth to almsgiving and to ransoming Christian prisoners. His son John was born in 675, and along with his adoptive brother Cosmas was brought up Christian…

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06 works, Today, November 30th, is Andrew the Apostle’s day, his story, illustrated #333

Caravaggio (1571–1610)
Detail; The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew, c. 1607

Oil on canvas
Height: 202.5 cm (79.7 in); Width: 152.7 cm (60.1 in)
The Cleveland Museum of Art

Andrew the Apostle was an apostle of Jesus, according to the New Testament. He is the brother of Saint Peter. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called.

According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Andrew the Apostle was born between AD 5 and AD 10 in Bethsaida, in Galilee. The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and likewise a son of John, or Jonah. He was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee…

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07 works, Today, November 19th, is the Prophet Obadiah’s day, his story illustrated #322

John Singer Sargent
Prophets Zephaniah, Joel, Obadiah, and Hosea

Boston Public Library

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 — April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida…

The holy Prophet Obadiah is the fourth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and he lived during the ninth century B.C. He was from the village of Betharam, near Sichem, and he served as steward of the impious Israelite King Ahab. In those days the whole of Israel had turned away from the true God and had begun to offer sacrifice to Baal, but Obadiah faithfully served the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in secret…

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05 works, Today, November 13th, is Saint Manetha’s day, her story illustrated #316

Unknown artist
Martyrs Antoninus, Nicephorus, Germanus, and Manetha

I have no further description, at this time

Some servants of Christ’s people, who in the stature of their bodies were only youths, but their soul was armed with the worship of God, both came of themselves, and when the governor was offering libations to idols in the midst of the city, suddenly rushed upon him, and called upon him to abandon his error, “For there is no other God but one, the Maker and Creator of all things;” and when they were asked by Governor Firmillian who they were, they confessed they were Christians. No sooner, then, were these words uttered than they received sentence of death, and so passed on easily and without delay to Him in whom they made their confession. The name of the first of them was Antoninus, and the second was called Zebinas, and the third’s name was Germanus; and these things were done on the thirteenth of November…

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09 works, Today, October 8th, is Saint Pelagia’s day, her story illustrated #280

Unknown artist
Saint Pelagia beating the devil

Saint Marina beating the devol, c. 19th century
Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens

Pelagia’s story, attributed to Jamesor Jacob, deacon of the church of modern Baalbek. He states that Margarita, the Latin equivalent of “Pelagia, was the “foremost actress” and a prominent harlot in Antioch…

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10 works, Today, October 4th, is Saint Francis of Assisi’s day, his story illustrated #276

ROMANESQUE PAINTER, Italian, (active in 1220s)
St Francis of Assisi, before 1224

Cappella di San Gregorio, Subiaco

In the Chapel of San Gregorio in the lower church at Subiaco can be found the earliest portrait of St Francis. This fresco represents him without halo and stigmata, therefore it was probably made before 1224, when he received the stigmata. More on this work

Born circa 1181, in Assisi, duchy of Spoleto, Italy, Saint Francis of Assisi began his life as a confirmed sinner. His father was a wealthy cloth merchant who owned farmland around Assisi, and his mother was a beautiful Frenchwoman. Francis was not in want during his youth; he was spoiled, indulging himself with fine food, wine, and wild celebrations. By age 14, he had left school and become known as a rebellious teenager who frequently drank, partied and broke the city curfew. He was also known for his charm and vanity…

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09 works, Today, August 28th, is Moses the Black’s day, his story illustrated #240

Unknown artist
Saint Moses the Abyssinian

Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi, Nabk, north of Damascus, Syria

Moses the Black (330–405), also known as Abba Moses the Robber, the Ethiopian , and the Strong, was an ascetic monk and priest in Egypt in the fourth century AD, and a notable Desert Father. According to stories about him, he converted from a life of crime to one of asceticism.

Moses was a servant of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. A large, imposing figure, he became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence…

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07 works, Today, August 27th, is Saint Phanourios’ day, his story illustrated #239

Aggelos Akotantos (–1450)
Saint Phanourios, (second quarter of 15th c)

The Collection of Agia Aikaterini, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Angelos Akotantos was a 15th-century Byzantine-Cretan Icon-painter and hagiographer who lived and worked at Heraklion, Crete, then part of the Republic of Venice. He was the first hagiographer to sign his name on his icons by writing in Greek: “Χειρ Αγγέλου” which, translated in English, means “By hand of Angelos”.

Angelos Akotantos’ known works consist of about 50 pieces, 30 of which are signed icons and an additional 20 which have been reliably attributed to the artist. Akotantos had a workshop in Candia, the capital of Crete, from which he supplied icons to Greek churches and monasteries on Crete, Patmos, Rhodes and elsewhere…

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09 works, Today, August 15th, is the Dormition of the Virgin Mary day, her story illustrated #227

James Tissot, (1836–1902)
What Our Lord Saw from the Cross, between 1886 and 1894

Gouache over graphite on gray-green wove paper
24.8 × 23 cm (9.7 × 9 in)
Brooklyn Museum

Jacques Joseph Tissot (15 October 1836–8 August 1902), Anglicized as James Tissot, was a French painter and illustrator. He was a successful painter of Paris society before moving to London in 1871. He became famous as a genre painter of fashionably dressed women shown in various scenes of everyday life. He also painted scenes and characters from the Bible. More on James Tissot

Hanging on the Cross in agony, Jesus remembered His Mother, and indicating the Apostle John He said to her: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He said to John: Behold thy mother. And so, providing for His Mother, He breathed His last…

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04 Works, Today, June 3rd is Saint Lucillian’s day, his story in Paintings #154

Unknown artist
Holy Martyr Lucillian and those with him

Saint Lucillian was a pagan priest during the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian. In his old age he turned to the faith in Christ, and was baptized.

Under the influence of his preaching many pagans were converted to Christianity. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ, reported Lucillian to the Nicomedia prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint’s jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four Christian youths: Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death…

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05 Works, Today, May 30th is Saint Joan’s day, her story in Paintings #150

Joan of Arc, c. 1879
Oil on canvas
100 × 110 in (254 × 279.4 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art.org/art/collection/search/435621

As one of the Lorraine natives inspired by the sudden relevance of Joan of Arc’s image, Jules Bastien-Lepage in 1875 started sketches for this life-sized portrait of Joan of Arc showing her at the moment that she received her first call to arms against the English invaders of 1424. Bastien-Lepage captures the suddenness of the call by showing the overturned chair from which she has just sprung at her spinning wheel behind her together with the wet edge of her dress that has just brushed through the dew from the weeds in the garden at the back of her parents’ house. More on this painting

Jules Bastien-Lepage (1 November 1848–10 December 1884) was a French painter closely associated with the beginning of naturalism, an artistic style that emerged from the later phase of the Realist movement. He was born in the village of Damvillers, Meuse, and spent his childhood there. Bastien took an early liking to drawing…

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