Monday, March 03, 2008

New Line Art from Matthew Alderman

Santa Bárbara, Patrona de la Artillería. Ink on Vellum. February 2008. Artist's Collection.

The original precedent for this image was an illustration of S. Barbara as protectress of the second battalion of the first royal Bavarian artillery regiment during the Great War, where she is shown wearing a modern steel military helmet and leaning on a cannon. Such imagery is rare, but not unknown, due to the saint's role as patroness invoked against sudden death, artillerymen of all nationalities, and for all who work with munitions. (Indeed, in Spanish, a powder magazine is called a santabárbara.) I can think of at least one side-chapel in Rome which is bedizened all over with cannon-barrels and similarly explosive insignia.

I have freely adapted the design but preserved the basic attributes of this somewhat unconventional model; a careful inspection of the drawing will show, nonetheless, the more traditional emblems of the saint--tower, lightning-bolt, sword--embossed and blazoned across of much of the great martyr's equipment.

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