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Saint Margaret Of Antioch

Painting, 1630-th , 163×105 cm

Description of the artwork «Saint Margaret Of Antioch»

"Saint Margaret Of Antioch" (National gallery, London) is one of several pictures of a mysterious series of Zurbaran depicting Christian martyrs. Mysteriously in these paintings, above all, their purpose. Nominally, they represent the saints, in fact the same – attractive women Sevilla in modern clothes. Although zurbarán worked all my life for the monasteries of his female saints are not very suitable for the decoration of Church walls.

Rufinaand Casilda, Inessaand Barbara,Dorotheaand Apollonia, Marinaand Matilda, Agathaand Ursula, Engraciaand Margaret – for all the martyrs Zurbaran chose repeated from time to time composition. Figures occupy the entire space of the portraits, almost all of them 2/3 are deployed to the viewer and – crucially – without exception, all very carefully dressed up. Dorothea, Apollonius and others – just in luxurious capes and dresses, the daughter of the Moorish Governor of Casilda in the Royal vestments, but Margaret is only in a shepherd's costume, but very harmonious and beautiful.

But isn't it strange? Do not be absurd if such a concentration on appearance to the detriment of directly Christian deeds of the saints? Because their lives contain a lot of details – scenic, but a bloody that art Baroquethere was a great demand. Mauritanica Casilda wore food to Christian prisoners, and when the father caught her with the bread in the hem, could be executed, but the bread turned into roses. Apollonia of Alexandria refused to worship the pagan gods, for which she first pulled out the pliers teeth, and then burned at the stake. Saint Margaret her cross ripped open the belly of the devil himself, who previously ate it. All these chilling detail Zurbaran reports only in passing – roses at the hem of Casilda, tongs in the hands of Apollonia. But the Virgo does not give the impression of saints and especially martyrs – at least, not like their is a Church Canon.

Margaret Zurbaran depicted in an elegant suit in a folk spirit. Straw hat with rolled brim shades her face with a bright blush, a monumental combination of white, blue and red outfit; looks especially expressive embroidered canvas bag (such up to our days from time to time come into fashion as the elements of the Spanish style).

Meanwhile, unlike Casilda, who lived shortly before Zurbaran, in the XV century, Margaret could not be his close contemporary. She was the daughter of a pagan priest at Antioch in the distant third century, even before Antioch became part of the Byzantine Empire, and Christianity became the state religion. Christian Margaret was secretly. The ruler of Antioch by her youth and beauty, wanted to marry Margaret. But she refused, explaining that he could not become the bride of an earthly king, as is already the bride of the Heavenly King. For this Margaret was thrown into prison, and the devil, taking the form of a fire-breathing dragon (we see him in the background Zurbaran paintings) came to scare a Martyr, and one time even swallowed it. Then the cross in the hands of Margaret suddenly began to grow and grew until, until I cut open the dragon's belly.

The life of Margarita filled with fabulously Gothic elements and dramatic twists. Not that they attract Zurbaran. As in all paintings of the series, his main interest is nothing short of a thorough, masterly performance clothing. Now in a research environment increasingly heard ideas that it is wrong to limit the work of Zurbaran convent walls. Maybe it is unreasonably great Martyr, simply serve as is a family business selling fabrics? In any case, this version of the film about the Spanish Baroque expresses the art critic Waldemar Januszczak. And the writer théophile Gautier recognized that the saints of Zurbaran – "this is the most romantic creature you can imagine".

Author: Anna Yesterday
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait, Religious scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1630-th

Size: 163×105 cm

Artwork in selections: 8 selections

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