While exploring resident Mad Taxidermist Rob Reysen’s old cow barn last year, we stumbled upon this antique religious picture. Thankfully, Rob managed to salvage it from the garbage pile for me.
After being assaulted by hordes of bulbous, black spiders from inside the cracks of the frame, Christina and I decided it might need to be cleaned up a little before we hang it on the wall.
The image depicts the Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus with a rosary. Around it is a series of 15 scenes which we originally thought were meant to represent the Stations of the Cross. When we managed to extract the print from the frame, we realized it is numbered and the title is Madonna of the Rosary.
Despite an interest in religious art and symbolism, as well as theology in general, I am not Catholic or even remotely religious. Much of the imagery was meaningless to me. I hit Google, using the title as the starting point. A little researched uncovered a somewhat similar print sold on Ebay. The listing described the smaller images to represent the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, rather than the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Apparently the traditional 15 Mysteries of the Rosary are based on some long-standing custom by Pope Pius V from the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries, and the Glorious mysteries.
- The Annunciation. Fruit of the Mystery: Humility
- The Visitation. Fruit of the Mystery: Love of Neighbors
- The Nativity. Fruit of the Mystery: Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor
- The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: Purity, Obedience
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: True Wisdom and True Conversion, Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus
- The Agony in the Garden. Fruit of the Mystery: Sorrow for Sin, Uniformity with the will of God
- The Scourging at the Pillar. Fruit of the Mystery: Mortification, Purity
- The Crowning with Thorns. Fruit of the Mystery: Contempt of the world, Courage
- The Carrying of the Cross. Fruit of the Mystery: Patience
- The Crucifixion. Fruit of the Mystery: Salvation, Forgiveness
- The Resurrection. Fruit of the Mystery: Faith
- The Ascension. Fruit of the Mystery: Hope and desire for ascension to Heaven
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Mystery: Holy Wisdom to know the truth and share with everyone, Divine Charity, Worship of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of Mary. Fruit of the Mystery: Grace of a Happy Death and True Devotion towards Mary
- The Coronation of the Virgin. Fruit of the Mystery: Perseverance and Crown of Glory, Trust in Mary’s Intercession
The frame cleaned up nicely. It is in rough condition, as is the print, but that only adds to the creepy religious patina.