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“Cross of New Life:The Flowering Cross” ☦️ (13’6” x 7’9”)
The largest icon of my career is now completed and prepared for its new home. It has been my honor to write the “Cross of New Life: The Flowering Cross”
The ancient Catholic Church has given us the tradition of flowering and jeweled crosses, which are on display in mosaics (specifically in Ravenna, Italy) and paintings throughout the world. This particular Cross is modeled on one by Giotto di Bondone (1226-1337) ... and my additions based on years of looking into painted crosses.
The popular Old English Christmas Carol, inspired the colors of the icon. “The Holly and the Ivy” which dates back before Henry VIII, tells of the lovely green holly producing red berries…
“The holly bears a berry,
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good…”
There are several versions of this Carol, it has become significant for me not only at Christmas time as we wrap the world in red and green, but also watching closely in springtime as trees produce red buds right from the “wounds” in the bark, which become flowers, fruit, or green leaves .
So the Flowering Cross is also, of course, always a sign of the Resurrection to come.
Our Lady of Sorrows, dressed in red, watches over her Son in the round panel at the top. On either side of his body are purple-passion-like panels, 12” x 44”, each bearing 30 bright magenta Japanese stencil flowers which seem to lay nicely next to Jesus’ body, where Giotto uses a very beautiful complex design in his side panels. The cross expertly cut by master woodworker Roberto Lavadie. Our Lady of Sorrows, and the side panels were done in the autumn-winter months 2019. Finally I began the Corpus in January, 2020 and finished April 20, 2020. Marcia Vargas did the gold leafing on the edges of the entire Cross and then Roberto put all the parts together.
This “Cross of New Life: The Flowering Cross” is offered for sale. Price available upon request. Please contact Debra de la Torre at [email protected]
(Professional photograph of the Cross and a photo simulation of the Cross in a church are shown below.)
Fr William Hart McNichols