Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Saint Cecilia

MONSERRATE - the Music Room

This figure, looking like a pre-raphaelite version of the Statue of Liberty, is placed immediately to the right of Apollo. For such is her right as patron saint of music. This is her room. Nevertheless Cecilia is given a place among pagans that, as a martyr, she would perhaps dismay. After all they tried to cut off her lovely head !

St. Cecila with a crown of rays in a late 19th century stained glass

The pointed crown is a halo, not a disk or nimbus as used by early Christians, but the flaming disk of Hellenistic art, more properly applied to Apollo and his bretheren. Just as Renaissance artists reinvented the halo as a hoop (because it could be more readily represented in perspective), the plastic artist at Monserrate has opted for a form more convenient as plaster sculpture. Even so a number of rays seem to have lost their point.

'St Cecilia', John Melhuish Strudwick

Saint Cecilia, according to legend, is the inventor of the organ. She is always portrayed with this and other instruments.

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