An Icon (and an Artist) Identified!

Last week was a big week for the Catholic church with the announcement of new pope, Francis…

Pope Francis, aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Photo courtesy of crosscurrents.org
Pope Francis, aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Photo courtesy of countercurrents.org

Likewise – it was also a big week in the Ology household on a somewhat similar front. For close to a year now, Ms. Jeannie has been trying to identify the saint in her vintage Italian Catholic icon, that sits above her writing desk…

Ms. Jeannie's Icon - one of her most cherished vintage pieces.

It was tricky business, because there a lot of saints of course, and their simple appearance and plain portrayals  don’t allow for ease of searching. Just try doing a search for “saint in white and brown robes” and you’ll see what Ms. Jeannie means!

But luck or divine inspiration,as it might be, intervened earlier in the week which led one thing to another. Ms. Jeannie will explain…

It started with this collection of favorite items Ms. Jeannie curated on Etsy…

Gray Dress by natful
Gray Dress by natful
Cardinal Watercolor Painting by Splodgelodge
Cardinal Watercolor Painting by Splodgelodge
London Church Door Photography by Jillian Audrey Designs
London Church Door Photography by Jillian Audrey Designs
Antique Coral Rosary from theDeeps
Antique Coral Rosary from theDeeps
Cardinal Red Flower Pin & Hair Clip from ArtTx
Cardinal Red Flower Pin & Hair Clip from ArtTx
Vintage 1950s Mantilla Veil from Union Made Bride
Vintage 1950s Mantilla Veil from Union Made Bride
8 Vintage Religious Medals from Albrechts Antiques
8 Vintage Religious Medals from Albrechts Antiques
Vintage Set of Catholic Press Books from vintage archeology
Vintage Set of Catholic Press Books from vintage archeology
Mary, Mother of God Art Print by Portraits of Saints
Mary, Mother of God Art Print by Portraits of Saints
Cardinal Red Leather Tote Bag by Boga Bag
Cardinal Red Leather Tote Bag by Boga Bag
Handmade Vintage French Silk Ribbon Bracelet Cuff by Rubanesque
Handmade Vintage French Silk Ribbon Bracelet Cuff by Rubanesque
Vintage Concrete St. Francis of Assisi Statue
Vintage Concrete St. Francis of Assisi Statue
Red Rose Photograph by S Linton Photography
Red Rose Photograph by B Linton Photography
Vintage French Holy Water Font from French Provisions
Vintage French Holy Water Font from French Provisions
Vintage Ruby Red Glass Chimney from Albrechts Antiques
Vintage Ruby Red Glass Chimney from Albrechts Antiques
St. Peters Cathedral Photograph by Shawn St. Peter
St. Peters Cathedral Photograph by Shawn St. Peter

This is how Ms. Jeannie was introduced to Tracy from Portraits of Saints, who drew the beautiful Mary portrait…

Mary, Mother of God Art Print by Portraits of Saints
Mary, Mother of God Art Print by Portraits of Saints

Since her shop is called Portraits of Saints, Ms. Jeannie thought she might know who the saint was pictured in her icon. So Ms. Jeannie sent Tracy a message and wouldn’t you believe it, in about 10 minutes Tracy came back with an answer! (It really does help to ask the experts!)

Ms. Jeannie’s icon is a portrait of St. Clare, a detail from the Five Saints frescoe  painted by one of Italy’s greatest 14th century painters, Simone Martini (1285-1344).

St. Clare by Simone Martini
St. Clare by Simone Martini

St. Clare was born in Assisi in 1194 and was one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi, who our new Pope chose as his Saint’s name.  She ran away from home, cut off her hair, lived in a poorhouse, wore no shoes and ate no meat.  She founded the Order of the Poor Ladies (eventually to be called the Order of the Poor Clares) along with a group of women and lived in poverty throughout her life. She was canonized on August 15th, 1255, two years after her death.

Ms. Jeannie is so thrilled to be able to put a name to a face now! Welcome home St. Clare!

Thank you thank you thank you to Tracy for the introduction. And now you know if you have any saint identification needs, she’s your gal!

St. Clare Portrait by Portraits of Saints
St. Clare Portrait by Portraits of Saints

2 thoughts on “An Icon (and an Artist) Identified!

  1. Thanks so much for including our cardinal red t-shirt flower pin/hair clip. I also love the fact that the blog has historical context, since I’m a huge history buff myself.I”m truly honored! 🙂

    -Melissa from ArtTx

    Like

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