Sunday, June 21, 2009


Leonardo Alenza y Nieto 1807-1845
El viático/ The Viaticum
Oil on canvas 77 x 63.5cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Leonardo Alenza y Nieto was a Spanish painter and illustrator, a follower of Goya.

He was inspired by scenes of every day Madrid. He depicted numerous scenes showing the customs and landscapes and of the lower classes at play and work.

Despite his talent and some recognition while he was alive, he died penniless.

As regards the Viaticum of the title of the painting, it is explained in paragraph 1524 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"1524 In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of "passing over" to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." The sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is here the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father."