## Saturday, October 12, 2013

### art & spirituality: mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma

mare de déu amb el nen sostenint una poma (own work, 20 x 20 x 30 cm, 2009-2013)

mare de déu means mother of god' in catalan, and refers to maria as mother of jesus (see also roman catholic mariology). avid readers of this blog may recall my earlier posts on mary and jesus, and the wonderful mare de déu' romanic/gothic sculptures to be found in catalunya, especially in some barcelona museums like the museu frederic marès and the museu nacional d'art de catalunya.

in hindsight, i probably only posted some images of these sculptures (as illustration of the wonders of anonymous artists), and did not sing their praise as extensively as i should have. let me correct that omission now: i find many of these polychrome madonna sculptures from the 12th-16th century to be absolutely marvelous, especially the ones made in catalonia.

what i find so marvelous is their individuality, their lack of superficial symmetrical-face-beauty, their playfulness, seriousness, compassion...expression i suppose. and of course the dedication with which they were crafted and painted. together, this achieves for me a level of spirituality which really captivates me.

mare de déu amb el nen (from palera parish, anonymous catalan artist, beginning 15th century, now in museu d'art de girona)

anyway, my first sketches to create such a sculpture myself (!) date from 1996. they were intended for a wooden sculpture, but i never found the time and energy to start such this assiduous undertaking. take a look at this wonderful video from the getty museum on spanish polychrome sculpture to get an idea what i'm talking about!

well. i do not mention very often that i am usually in poor health, but this is a major reason for me not to undertake everything that i would want. i have found a way around though, because i have been making polychrome clay sculptures for many years now. a few years back i decided to make a fair-sized polychrome clay `mare de déu'.

but first i made a quick sketch in clay (45 minutes). i liked the sketch so much that i decided to paint it as well. the first unfinished version i lent to a dear friend on his sickbed, which lasted almost 2 years. after his death, i turned to finishing the polychrome. the result you see above. i will write more about the sculpture itself in the next post.

[to be continued]