Our Lady and St John: Recent Project
29 October 2023
My most recent project was acquiring two secondhand statues in need of restoration: our Lady and St John. Having painted the Crucifix at Our Lady Star of the Sea, I thought I would complete the Calvary scene by having our Lady and St John at the foot of the Cross. I saw online that E. Cararra and Sons of Liverpool had two statues, though not in great shape. I’ve spent the last week or so restoring them and share with you some pictures here. I hope you agree that they complete the Sanctuary beautifully and add a further focus and devotion to our prayer and offering of the Mass.
The Posture of Our Lady
One interesting aspect of the statue of our Lady is her posture and the way she holds her hands. Above you’ll see a painting called The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio, the moment when Judas betrayed the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. Notice the hands of the Lord are in the same position as our Lady’s statue - even the colours are similar. This posture, art historians tell us, is a posture of intense emotion. It looks as though the whole force of the body is being pressed into the interlocked fingers as the internal suffering is controlled or channelled. It is certainly a striking posture. St John records in his Gospel that it was at the foot of the Cross that our Lady was given into his care and our Lady became, by the Lord’s desire, our Mother also.
Restoring the Woodwork and the Colours
There was heavy damage that required a lot of stripping back, sanding down, and repair in order to fill the splits in the wood, prime, and then repaint. I also chose to pick out the detail of the edge of both our Lady and St John’s robes, and to paint the base gold and blue to match the Crucifix which Hopefully by this weekend the statues will have been installed by workmen who are also giving the newly re-opened Choir Loft a fresh coat of paint. Let’s be sure to ask the prayers of our Lady and St John, who remained close to the Lord, when others abandoned Him.