Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Renunciation

Lets kick off the new year with piety! Why? Am I feeling guilty about too much indulgence over the silly season? Of course not! Don't be silly in even starting to think so. It is simply because it all gets more depraved from here on in...

Postcard c.1920's?

Philip Hermogenes Calderon, St Elizabeth of Hungary's Great Act of Renunciation, 1891, Oil on canvas, Tate, London

An interesting comparison between the gravures interpretation against the subtlety of the original painting. If you don't know the story here is the Tate's description: 

"Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) was the wife of Lewis, Landgrave of Thuringia. After his death in 1227 during one of the Crusades, she entered a convent and devoted herself to good works. Before becoming a nun, she passed through a spiritual crisis, torn by the need to renounce the world, and therefore her children, in order to fulfill her desire to serve God. Pressed by a domineering monk, Conrad, whose natural affections had been starved by celibacy, Elizabeth finally vowed that 'naked and barefoot' she would follow her 'naked Lord'. Calderon's picture shows this moment of self-abasement.  
Calderon took his subject from a play by Charles Kingsley, 'The Saint's Tragedy', first published in 1848. It was based on fact."

Poor Elizabeth...dead at 24, sanctified sure, but ending up the salacious subject matter of late 19th Century 'Salon Art', where the plethora of nude women in subservient poses is as much of a crime as her very brief life. More details about Elizabeth from Wikipedia...

...and on that note I am off to listen to the latest emptywhale release 'That Grey Place We Go'. Happy New Year...

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