Thursday, February 25, 2016

Immortal Souls

My “Immortal Souls” series inspired by three of my favorite female saints is now available for purchase. Made up of graphite, watercolor, 22 karat gold leaf, 9x12 inch watercolor paper in an ornate handmade 14x16 display. You can contact myself at for purchase inquiries. Pictured below are "Saint Joan of Arc”, "Saint Lucia", and "Saint Catherine of Siena" who were all also inspired heavily by some of John Galliano’s work for Chanel. 

This is the first time I have chosen to include nudity in my artwork, which initially was not planned. The theme for the group show these pieces were created for, "Those Unspoken", was to reinterpret the standards for mythology, depicting women as mythical characters in roles that are typically masculine. Sainthood is definitely not reserved for masculinity or even the supernaturally devout. The word "saint" basically means a person who has entered heaven, with the recognized Saints we often hear about are canonized throughout a very long process, one element of the investigation being whether any special favor or miracle has been granted through this candidate saint's intercession. All the women below were found to be just that; miraculous. But I felt that these particular women were miraculous and innovative on their respective societal front as well, using their femininity with great ferociousness. Their armor depicts an otherworldly power, while the contrast of their bare bodies suggests extreme vulnerability. These women were all criticized or even killed for not conforming to the norms of their society, yet their transcendent mindset has echoed throughout the ages chanting "we cannot be killed." 

"La Pucelle d'Orléans" or "The Maid of Orléans" said she received visions of the Archangel Michael (the leader of all angels and of the army of God), Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine (of Alexandria) instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The (yet to be crowned) King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. 
She was captured at Compiègne by English allies. She was later handed over to the English, then put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais for an array of charges. After he declared her guilty she was burned at the stake in 1431, dying at nineteen years old.
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr.
Saint Lucia (or Lucy) of Syracuse was scheduled to be married in 304 AD, but after she refused the arrangement, her betrothed and the governor of Syracuse attempted to force her to be taken to a brothel to be defiled. Catholic tradition states that when the guards came to take her away, they could not move her tiny, heavy body - even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. In a desperate attempt to punish the persistent woman, piles of wood were set aflame around her, but she would not burn. At her end, the governor ordered his men to gauge out her eyes. Another version has Lucia taking her own eyes in order to discourage her arranged groom who admired them. When her body was prepared for burial in the family mausoleum it was discovered that her eyes had been miraculously restored.
St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy in 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. At the age of 16, Saint Catherine's sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine's parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. Against her parent's wishes, she began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance. Despite Catherine's religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent and instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home to care for her family.

1 comment:

  1. These are so beautiful, well done Casstronaut!

    Thank you for the history lesson too! :)


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