Thursday, August 31, 2017

The macabre way martyrs are depicted in Christian art

By Philip Kosloski
Caravaggio's "Beheading of John the Baptist
When viewing artistic depictions of Christian martyrs, it is often very easy to recognize the way in which the saint was killed for the faith. Many Christian artists over the centuries made it a point to visually represent the means of a martyr’s death, seeing in it a sort of “badge of honor” that proves the saint’s holiness. This tradition has continued even to the present day with modern-day martyrs. In one painting of the Coptic Christians who were killed in 2015, they are shown next to men dressed in black who are holding knives to their throats. So the next time you are wondering why a saint is depicted the way they are, it might just be in reference to their manner of death, a sign of their entrance into heavenly glory. [More]
Nikola Saric's Icon Holy Martyrs of Libya, 100×70 cm, water colours on paper, 2015.