Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Photo of Nicario Jiménez Cross

Here is a cross made by Nicario Jiménez, "The Artist of the Andes"; found at the Saint Louis Art Fair on September 8th, 2006.

Symbols on this cross include the sign INRI, for the Latin Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"; a dove for the Holy Ghost; a hammer and pincers as instruments of the crucifixion; the crown of thorns encircling the Sacred Heart of Jesus; three leaves in a fleur-de-lis pattern symbolizing the Trinity; the Eucharist; the seamless garment; and the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross. The cross is flanked by mermaids, which with their dual fish-human nature symbolize the dual nature of Christ. Also present is the sun and the phases of the moon.

The yellow flower on the base appears to be an Espeletia, a kind of sunflower native to the Andes.

The artist specializes in retablos (from Latin, retrotabulum, "backward table") , which "are sophisticated folk art in the form of portable boxes filled with brightly colored figurines arranged into intricate narrative scenes." Some of his retablos have Christian themes.

At this art fair, I thought that I would search in vain for Catholic, or even catholic—that is, universal—art, for nearly everything displayed here was uniformly modernistic. But I was pleased to meet Mr. Jiménez, who kindly let me photograph his cross.

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