Artist at Evelyn Astegno Art
The primary intention of my religious paintings is depicting God’s love for us, a love that can be emanated from Himself or, indirectly, from any creation of Him. God’s love is absolute, regardless of how we perceive it in our limitations. In my work "The Madonna and Her Children" I wanted to represent a realistic young holy Mary loving her Son and loving us as her children as well. I painted her physical features in accordance with the descriptions in Marian apparitions to different saints and lay people as well. Although the colors of skin hair, and eyes differ from one description to another, I noticed how much the “shapes” and other details are actually similar. All the descriptions report the Holy Mary as incredibly beautiful.
Marian apparitions are considered expressions of Mary’s ongoing motherly care for the Church and humanity. United to her Son, Mary is capable of a love that is difficult to imagine here on earth. Here is how St. Louis de Montfort describes her love in his book “True Devotions of Mary"; "she loves them tenderly, more tenderly than all the mothers in the world together. Take the maternal love of all the mothers of the world for their children. Pour all that love into the heart of one mother for an only child. That mother’s love would certainly be immense. Yet Mary’s love for each of her children has more tenderness than the love of that mother for her child."
But how does the Holy Mary love us? First of all, she understands and feels our sufferings more than any other human could, as her martyrdom was longer and greater than all of the martyrs (although hidden to people), according to St. Alphonsus Liguori. Secondly, she shows us the path to eternal life and helps us avoid dangerous pitfalls. So, as she lovingly holds her Son who sleeps confidently in her arms and transmits her the originary love, she invites us under her mantle for protection, direction, and true comfort. The rough background, as well as the raw fabric, suggests the human/earthly nature for our Mother. The twelve stars symbolize the 12 Apostles and the 12 Tribes of Israel. Moreover, the ample circle in which they are inscribed, hint at the divine embrace that accompanies and evokes the one of Mary for Jesus and for us.
My painting depicting the "Pietà", which I put the finishing touches on last week, has a different backstory. However, there is a direct correlation to my previous work "The Madonna and her Children". As some of you may know, I’m open to requests regarding subjects of faith if they are deeply felt by relatives, friends or just about anybody. I'll then paint these requests according to my interpretation. When I asked my dearest friend Robyn a few months ago (before she passed away) whether she had a favorite religious topic, she reluctantly mentioned (she didn’t want to push me) that she would love for me to paint a "Pietas", a popular depiction of the Blessed Mother Mary holding the deceased Christ crucified. She stressed that she saw a deep connection to my previous paintings, i.e., my painting of the crucifixion "The Glance of Love" and "The Madonna and Her Children".
At first, I didn’t grasp the connection. Then, suddenly, it became clear. In this work, I used Robyn's reflection and I depict the Madonna still holding her Child, her crucified Son, with one hand, and with the other hand still reaching out to us her children as she is in my earlier painting. In my interpretation of this scene, this is not only an invitation for us to follow her Son but also the depiction of a loving mother as she offers her Son to us. Mary, a poor and lowly mother, offered the most important thing in her life, something more important to her than her own life, her only Son. She actively offers her Son to us in the midst of the deepest suffering she has ever experienced. The expression on her face is sorrowful yet loving at the same time. There is no greater love on earth than this act of sacrifice. This is my depiction of a divine love in Mary.
I am a native of Vicenza in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. Currently I reside in St. Louis where I specialize in religious artworks. My paintings have been displayed in numerous galleries of art throughout the United States and Italy. These pieces are available for purchase. For inquiries, please contact me at 636-346-0764 or firstname.lastname@example.org