saints of MARTYRology - CHANCE PEÑA

This collection of paintings show a number Saints that were devoted to their faith and died as martyrs. Each of these paintings are filled with unique color choices, light values, and distinct artistic styles that bring the images to life. Although based on religious history, the following pieces seem to create their own dark stories and horrific tales, each becoming more tragic as they go along.

This is a painting of the Saints Justa and Rufina. The two were tortured on racks and with iron hooks but refused to renounce their faith. The legend states that after being starved and imprisoned, Saint Justa was first to die. Her body was thrown in a well, however this did not shake fear into Saint Rufina. She was later thrown to a lion that refused to attack her. Unfortunately, she still met her death by being beheaded and burned. Filled with warm colors and soft lines, this piece balances beauty with sadness. Despite the painful expressions from Saint Justa and Saint Rufina, the cherubs seem to bring light into their cruel world.
This piece depicts Saint Bartholomew, one of Jesus' twelve apostles, looking directly at the viewer as he is being subjected to torture. Bartholomew was tied and skinned alive for his Christian faith. Unlike the previous image, this artist created a lot of texture and value throughout. The background almost appears as dark rolling clouds due to the grey and bluish color. Darkness engulfs over this macabre piece as it covers everyone else in the image more than the Saint.
Saint Sebastian was one whom concealed his faith well. When his Christian faith was discovered, he was tied to a tree while archers covered him with arrows. While the arrows did not kill him, he was found by Irene of Rome, who nursed him back to health. Saint Sebastian faced the man who sentenced him to death, but once again was imprisoned. This time he was beaten to death and thrown in a sewer. Simple yet still dark in nature, this piece is filled with contrast. The use of shadows create dimension to Saint Sebastian's thinning body. The brush technique gives the background sky a rough texture. There is much more detail of the Saint than the setting.
Another piece of Saint Sebastian, this time with the martyr close to unconsciousness than the previous image. The Saint is being cared for by two women, one being Irene of Rome. This depiction is brightly colored with a soft glow on the three figures. The dark clouds are breaking open by a warm sunlight that shines on Sebastian. The high saturated red fabric that wraps around the Saint contains many folds and areas of dark and light. The painting appears almost as a dream.
Saint Peter of Verona was a famous Catholic priest that was assassinated by two men on April 6th, 1252. He was struck on the head with a meat cleaver. Legend says that he offered his blood to God by writing "I believe in one God" moments before dying. This painting however shows a friar named Angelo Ferretti as the martyr. This odd portrait shows Ferretti with a meat clever through his head and a dagger plunged into his chest. This piece is very evenly colored, with similar tones and shades being reused throughout.
There is not much that is known of Saint Justina. She is said to have converted a pagan magician, named Cyprian, to Christianity. The two were eventually imprisoned, tortured, and killed. In the painting Saint Justina is being stabbed in the chest somewhere near where she was arrested. This piece is high in red colors, all coming from the clothing instead of blood from Justina. The Saint is as white as the pillars in the background, almost as if she were as pure as the material that they are made of. The people are made of rounded and softer lines and have a more "cartoon" or animated appearance.
Saint Lawrence was most notable for his help of the poor. Lawrence was beaten and sentenced to a death of being placed on a gridiron and roasted alive. This piece by Ribera shows the Saint being prepared for his fate. The environment is painted in dark oils that create texture and contrast of the smoke in the background. There is much detail and sharp lines on Saint Lawrence, as he is depicted in such a fragile state. There is a lot of contrast within the image as the Saint is the only entire figure in the image, everyone else lost behind.
Pontianus is said to be a young man who was condemned to torture and death for not renouncing his faith to Christianity. The painting is almost chaotic, with the Saint bound in front of many figures. Almost all figures within this piece seem to be in a dynamic motion, each responding to what is happening in the scene. The pillars are angled, giving the painting 3-dimensional value and a greater linear perspective.
The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew shows the Apostle being bound to a cross for crucifixion. The story of Andrew states that he was found by priests that beat him and dragged him through the streets naked. He was imprisoned then crucified the next day and stoned to death. Like many of the other paintings, this one is also filled with shadows and low light values. The texture and dimensions of the image make it appear more life-like. The dark creases of Saint Andrews body give depth to his skin and form.
In this final piece, the Virgin Mary is seen holding a heart with seven blades piercing it. This is a representation of "The Seven Sorrows of Mary", also know as "The Seven Sorrows of Devotion". Mary is said to have seven tragic events of sorrow within her life, one of which being the death of Jesus. The lines that form the all the items in the image are deep and distinct. Mary's clothing is soft but have texture due to the folding of the fabric. Her face and hands are round in shape, and although not very realistic visually, still reveal a sad image nonetheless.
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