Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Loaves and Fishes

Here's a bit of artwork I did a few years back, called Loaves and Fishes.

Inspired by the work of my friend and a wonderful artist Robert Kauffmann, I was going for something in the style of M.C. Escher adapted to a Scriptural theme. Here it was a pretty easy connection with one of the best-known miracles of Christ: take five loaves and two fishes, and multiply them into infinity.

The basic shape is a triangle, which recalls the Trinity and is repeated in the center of the triangle with a triple set of loaves. The two fish and the two remaining loaves symbolize the two natures in Christ. That two of the loaves are broken recall the confraction of the Eucharist and the Emmaus narrative in Luke where the two disciples recognized the risen Christ "in the breaking of the bread".

At the heads of the first pair of fish there is a chalice which takes up the remaining space. The bottom of the chalice does not stay strictly within the triangle; it spreads outward and connects the first large triangle with the two flanking smaller ones. When inverted, this space becomes a water-filled cruet. The chalice and the cruet are also Eucharistic, and they recall the water and blood from the side of Christ at the crucifixion as well as, more vaguely, the miracle of the wedding feast at Cana.

Finally, the way the fish body sticks straight up and then the tails splay out from them was partly on the columns in the Cenacle, or the room of the Last Supper.

Overall, the idea visually was that the largest triangle would attract your attention first, and then the downward pointing would draw your eye subsequently into the smaller and smaller ones. Not sure if I was able to pull that off, but feel free to drop me a line and let me know if it worked.

The Latin inscription around the frame is from the Vulgate, Mark 6:41-42:

And when he had taken the five loaves, and the two fishes: looking up to heaven, he blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave to his disciples to set before them: and the two fishes he divided among them all. And they all did eat, and had their fill.

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