April 9, 2012

Fruits of Lenten Discipline

Early this year, Arthur Longsworth, a member of my congregation who hails from Belize approached me to ask if I would be willing to write an icon for the Cathedral of St John in Belize City, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this summer. Being somewhat attached to St John Baptist myself — as an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, and as one devoted to the spirituality of service with the willingness to hand responsibilities over once one's work has been completed — I agreed and at the beginning of Lent this year decided to make this a part of my Lenten discipline. I shared a number of possible prototypes with Arthur and he chose one by Titian as the model for this good-sized work — the largest I've executed at two by three feet. I followed Titian faithfully but not slavishly, and of course in my own manner, and during Holy Week was able to put the finishing touches on the work. Although this is in oil rather than tempera, it is on panel, and I applied the learning I garnered under the direction of my teachers and inspirations from the 14th through the 19th century!

Arthur will be taking the work to Belize this summer, for dedication and installation in the Cathedral Church. My hope is that it will be placed so as to have the figure of the Baptist gesturing towards the high altar. I am pleased with the result of this Lenten discipline; it has the distinct advantage over, for example, giving up chocolate, in that at the end of Lent there is something to show for it, which will, I hope inspire others to take up the vision of ministry that St John the Baptist epitomized.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Br. Chris said...

Beautiful Tobias! I would love to see a picture of it when it's in place in the cathedral!

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks Br Chris. I will ask Mr Longsworth to take a picture of the dedication and installation this summer! I wish I could be there... maybe some autumn or winter I'll make a trip to Belize!

June Butler said...

Tobias, the icon is splendid. Your periodic pictures of the work in progress on Facebook made me appreciate the finished product all the more.