Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Young Benedict

Montserrat Gudiol b. 1933
The Young Saint Benedict of Nursia 1980
Oil on canvas
The Basilica of Montserrat, near Barcelona, Spain

One of the most beautiful (of the many) things to see at the Shrine of Our Lady at Monserrat, near Barcelona is a very large modern and extremely striking painting by the Catalonian artist, Montserrat Gudiol. It is of the young St Benedict of Nursia.

The painting was commissioned to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the birth of St Benedict, the patron saint of Europe.

It was the introduction of modern art to the shrine complex.

It shows Saint Benedict dressed in the black habit of the Benedictines.

In about the year 500, Benedict became so upset by the immorality of society in Rome that he gave up his studies there and chose the life of an ascetic monk in the pursuit of personal holiness, living as a hermit in a cave near the rugged region of Subiaco

Solitary, energetic, austere, and committed in his beliefs. In his hands he holds the Rule he wrote to order monastic life, a treatise that has had so much influence over the centuries in the Christian world.