|I am the handmaid of the Lord (2016)|
Watercolor on paper
by jojo sabalvaro tan
I painted this icon during a visit to Australia and dedicate it to the Filipinos from the Campbletown area of New South Wales, Australia, especially the members of the Filipino Catholic Mass Committee and Choir, whose strong faith and Christian fellowship are a revelation and rarity. We are thankful to bask in their kindness, community and comradeship especially at a time of difficulty for our family. We will always be eternally grateful.
This Madonna and Child painting was influenced by three main elements. The first one is the icon of the Virgin Orans or Our Lady of the Sign, an icon of the Virgin Mary that has been depicted since the 4th century. The Virgin Mary is portrayed facing the viewer directly with her arms raised towards heaven in a prayerful position and the image Jesus as a child shown in a round or oval opening upon her breast.
|Our Lady of the Sign (18th century, iconostasis of the Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia). |
The second influence is a passage from the scriptures from Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel
and Luke 1:38 during the Annunciation when the
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
|Fra Filippo Lippi's Annunciation|
I found this last passage to be a testament of an extreme act of faith, bravery and trust in God on the part of the Virgin Mary, virtues we all try to aspire to but fail many times.
The third influence is the work of Viennese artist Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and his decorative ornamentation in his paintings. I tried to use the same type of ornamentation in this painting but a little less ostentatious.