This drawing shows God the Father with his right hand raised in blessing. The work is superbly done and has a mostly kindly atmosphere. It was executed, probably sometime during the 1500s, by Girolamo dai Libri.
The most famous of all is, of course, the wonderful, double-sided, complex Maestà, c. 1308-10, by Duccio. It was made for the Cathedral in Siena, Italy, and today resides in the Cathedral's Museum. More on this work, perhaps, another day. :-)
Here is another work by Bernardo Daddi, this one very unusual. It might help to know at the outset that it was intended to bring comfort to prisoners awaiting execution. On the recto side are the traditional images of the Virgin Mary, of Saint
John the Evangelist and the Redeemer. So far so good -- but they are accompanied, at bottom, by a fleshless corpse dressed in the black tunic of execution.
On the verso side, it only gets worse. Or at least more strange. Three saints are shown immediately after their martyrdom by beheading. They still kneel with hands clasped in prayer. From the left are St. James the Greater, St. Paul, and St. John the Baptist. At the bottom are two Dominicans, St. Peter
Martyr and St. Thomas Aquinas.
You know, there is something quite beautiful about this cross. And yet it must be admitted, on the basis of this evidence, that Catholicism has some very bizarre aspects!
Here is a rather unusual altarpiece by Bernardo Daddi, c. 1330. The choice of saints is a bit odd, or so it seemed to me. What struck me the most, however, is that here is Mary without the Christ Child. Still, I like this work very much and hope that you will too.
This processional cross depicts four Franciscan saints and was therefore probably commissioned by an establishment of that order. Given the presence of St. Clare, it was probably a community of sisters.
On its recto side, the cross shows Mary, St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Mary Magdalene (starting from left and moving clockwise).
On the verso side are St. Francis, St. Louis of Toulouse, St. Clare, and St. Anthony of Padua.
Ade Bethune was an artist who freely contributed her work to the Catholic Worker newspaper throughout her life. She was also a good friend of Catholic Worker founder, Dorothy Day. I find myself increasingly drawn to Bethune's art, her beliefs, her life. You can see some of her art work here.