I have begun work on a celebration and exploration of the story of Saint Barbara, the beautiful daughter of Dioscorus, a wealthy pagan in the third century in Turkey who locked her in a tower to keep her from being married.
If this story sounds familiar it’s because Saint Barbara is the inspiration for Rapunzel.
Barbara somehow found out about a strange cult—this was the third century—called Christianity. She deceived her father into allowing a priest to visit her in her tower and was secretly baptized. When Dioscorus found out he pulled her out of the tower and tortured her and then threatened her with beheading if she didn’t recant. She was steadfast in her new faith and so he chopped off her head and then he was struck by lightning and then a mountain fell on him.
Barbara went to Heaven and is now the patron saint of all those who are about to be struck by lightning, also architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen.
There’s a ton of art dedicated to Barbara, including a huge painting of her martyrdom in the first gallery at the top of the grand staircase at the Met. I'm sure you've seen it.
I am beginning a series of collages dedicated to Barbara, combining drawings and photographs of lightning. The more I look into Barbara and her story the more there is to draw. I’ll skip the beheading.
Today I looked at at map of Turkey and remembered that it's the site of Mount Ararat, the landing place of Noah's ark so I'll have to put in a rainbow somewhere. With all that lightning, I'll have to give a nod to Ben Franklin. There's a gorgeous Spanish gothic church of Saint Barbara right here in Bushwick!
Here's my first Barbara.
I'm having a blast and to share the fun I'm reaching out to all the Barbara's I know. I have scheduled a Saint Barbara Day blog post for December 4 and an event with Artists Talk on Art for December 6, where I will share my work and talk about Saint Barbara and all the art she's inspired
do you know about name days? Your name day is the feast of the saint you were named for.
Saint Barbara Day is December 4.
I’m planning to celebrate and I hope you’ll join me.
So Barbara’s! Let's Celebrate!
First please fill out the attached questionnaire.
I have scheduled a Saint Barbara blog post for December 4 and an event with Artists Talk on Art for December 6, where I will share my work and talk about everything Barbara. Share with me your thoughts and feelings about our name, maybe do some art about Barbara, and I’ll feature you in my blog; in the days up to December 4 I plan to post a Barbara of the Day about your work, some writing, whatever you like.
Here's the link; You can answer anonymously if you like, but I hope you participate in Barbara of the Day!
August 26, 2021