Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Joyful Mysteries

Ernst Fuchs b.1930
The Joyful Mysteries 1958-61
Oil on goatskin 3m x 3m
The parish church „Queen of the Holy Rosary" of Hetzendorf, Vienna

"On the left edge of the painting stands the Angel of the Annunciation. Mary, blessed with child, walks across the sickle of the moon, which has been turned upside down and which also represents the mountain range Mary has to cross on her way to Elizabeth.

With her hands in sacrificial position she offers her child to the Lord, like in the Temple.

The child she has given birth to resembles the Prague Child of Jesus - also wearing a crown - and he blesses the world. One halo envelops the divine child and his mother. They are both clothed with the sun.

From among the joyful mysteries only one is missing: the finding of Jesus in the Temple.

Instead the artist has included the vision from the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse: the hellish dragon with the symbols of his power ( the 7 heads and crowns, the 10 horns and the tail which sweeps down one third of the stars from heaven) rebels against the woman and her child.

But the Angel defeats him by thrusting an amethyst rod into his spine. The amethyst is known as an ancient cure against drunkenness, in this case against Satan’s drunken overbearance.

We must not be surprised by the angel’s three hands, they simply symbolise God’s manifold power which is revealed through his angel. In reality the angel has no hands at all.

The grave features of the Holy Virgin on a painting of the joyful mysteries can be explained by the danger which threatens her and her child at all times."