Thursday, November 30, 2017

Saints of the Roman Canon - St Andrew, November 30th

Today is the Feast of St Andrew who, as an Apostle, is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.
Before he was called to follow Christ he was a follower of John the Baptist, and like him, he is depicted with unkempt hair.

Here are two more icons that caught my eye. The second of the two was painted by Sr Petra Clare; it now hangs in Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. I remember seeing it many times when I visited.

The cross upon which he was martyred, during the persecution of Nero has a characteristic X shape. As someone from the British Isles, I am well aware of this because he is the patron saint of Scotland, and the Scottish flag depicts it symbolically. This was incorporated into the Union Jack sometime after the formal union of the two countries in the 18th century.

The martyrdom itself is depicted in Western portrayals of the Saint. For example here is one by Rubens in characteristically dramatic style. In accordance with tradition he is shown bound, not nailed, to the cross.

Andrew was the brother of St Peter and the portrayal of the calling of the two as fishermen who will become 'fishers of men' is another common scene in Western portrayals, such as this one by Duccio di Buoninsegna.

Here he is represented in an early mosaic from Ravenna; note that Christ is beardless. (I do not know who the figure in the toga is on the right.)

 Below is a baroque painting of the same scene.
The Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew, c.1626-30 (oil on canvas) by Cortona, Pietro da (Berrettini) (1596-1669); 28.7x57.4 cm; Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK; Italian, out of copyright
This is one of a series of articles written to highlight the great feasts and the saints of the Roman Canon. All are connected to a single opening essay, in which I set out principles by which we might create a canon of art for Roman Rite churches, and a schema that would guide the placement of such images in a church. (Read it here.) In these, I plan to cover the key elements of images of the Saints of the Roman Canon - Eucharistic Prayer I - and the major feasts of the year. I have created the tag Canon of Art for Roman Rite to group these together, should any be interested in seeing these articles as they accumulate. For the fullest presentation of the principles of sacred art for the liturgy, take the Master’s of Sacred Arts, www.Pontifex.University.

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