If you read my last article, you are aware that I recently became a first-time grandmother. Eldon James Eubank entered this world at 4:24 p.m. on Nov. 3. As we enter December you may be reflecting on the impending birth of the Christ Child and the Holy Family.
Throughout history many artists have depicted the Madonna and Child in various artistic styles including Raphael who painted several of them. There is Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, also referred to as the Madonna di San Sisto, that Pope Julius II commissioned in 1512 for the church of San Sisto, Piacenza. The painting features The Madonna holding the child while she stands in a swirl of clouds. The patron saints of San Sisto Church Sts. Sixtus and Barbara are on either side of her. At her feet are two cherubs you will recognize from being popularized a few years ago on fabric and other merchandise. As a side note, there were doubts of the historic authenticity of St. Barbara’s legend, so her feast day, Dec 4, was removed from the revised General Roman Calendar in 1969. She does remain on the Catholic Church’s list of saints.
Another of Raphael’s Madonna and Child paintings is Madonna del Granduca (Madonna of the Grand Duke) Here the Madonna is dressed in red, a symbol of her humanity covered by her blue mantle symbolizing her divinity as Queen of Heaven. Go to St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church on Crescent Ave. and you will see this symbolism in their iconography: Mary was mortal and became divine is depicted in blue over red garments while Jesus was divine and became a mortal man is depicted in red over blue garments.
About a month before Eldon’s birth, I went over to Bethlehem Lutheran’s annual rummage sale. I had picked up a candle wicking kit of a mother holding her baby with the baby’s name and birthdate below it. I was thinking of making it for my grandson once I knew his name. At the rummage sale I found a similar crewel design, already finished and framed but without a child’s name or birthdate. I purchased it and took it over to Waynedale’s very own Stitch ‘N Frame shop where Dawn assisted me in removing the crewel work from the crudely taped cardboard back which is acidic and damaging to textiles. Once removed, we found a floss color close to the original so I could embroider in Eldon’s name. Back home I washed the textile using Orvus soap to safely remove any harm the cardboard may have caused. Once completed Dawn will back it with acid free foam core and protective glass will shield it from the sun’s harmful rays. It will make a wonderful addition to Eldon’s nursery!
As this is my last column for 2021, I want to wish you all a very blessed holiday season full of love, peace and joy and looking forward to reconnecting with you in the New Year!
Would you like to view images of Madonna and Child art from around the world? Go to: bit.ly/3HYIrdS