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Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Renunciation of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary

James Collinson (1825-1881)
The Renunciation of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary
Oil on canvas, 1848-1850
47 1/8 x 71 5/8 inches (120 x 182 cm)
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg


Rossetti recommended Collinson for the Preraphaelite Brotherhood, of which he became one of the founding members.

A religious man, his religious odyssey was not straightforward.

Born Catholic, in 1848 he became engaged with Christina Rossetti (and asked for her hand) and converted to the Church of England.

In 1850 he returned to Catholism and the engagement came to an end. He left the Preraphaelite Brotherhood in 1850 when he became convinced that the Brotherhood was straying greatly from what he regarded astrue Christianity and perhaps blasphemous.

He sold all his artistic equipment and joined the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst in 1853.

In 1854 he abandoned his education for priesthood and took up painting once more.

In 1858 he married Eliza Wheeler, the sister in law of the painter J.R. Herbert. Life therafter appeared to be tranquil.

St. Elisabeth of Hungary ( b. 1207 – 17 November 1231) spent most of her short life in Germany. She was born in Presburg, Hungary in 1206.

At age 4, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary (1175–1235) and Gertrude of Andechs-Merania was brought to the court of the Rulers of Thuringia in Central Germany, to become a future bride in order to reinforce political alliances between the families.

Elisabeth was married at age 14, widowed at age 20, relinquished her wealth to the poor, built hospitals, and became a symbol of Christian charity in Germany and elsewhere after her death at age 24.

Elisabeth is perhaps best known for the legend which says that whilst she was taking bread to the poor in secret, her husband asked her what was in the pouch; Elisabeth opened it and the bread turned into roses.