Ancient Shadows

Satyr in Shadow

 

Satyr’s Head, Roman, mid 2nd century CE, Marble, Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal

Join Lens-Artists Challenge #32: Shadows

Unexpected Surprises in 2018 #2

An Ode to Santa Joana Principesa

She began life as a princess in 1452, died as a Dominican nun in 1490, and was beatified two centuries later. Even though she has never been canonized, she is known in Portugal as Santa Joana Principesa, or Princess Saint Joan. More properly, she is the Blessed Joan of Portugal.

Today, the Dominican Convent of Jesus, in which Joana spent her religious life is part of the Museum of Aveiro.  Established in 1458, the convent became state property after the 1834 dissolution of religious orders in Portugal. The contemporary galleries of the museum contain a large collection of religious art, most of which belonged to the Convent of Jesus and other area convents. The convent became a museum in 1911.

Princess Joana of the House of Aziz was the daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal. As a young woman, she longed for the religious life. Because she was a royal princess and in line for the throne, her father and brother refused. They wanted her to marry to establish a political alliance and, if needed, produce an heir. She refused all offers.  In 1472 she entered the Convent of Jesus in Aviero. She lived a life of religious devotion and was admired even during her life; her royal connection added to the prestige of the convent.

Baroque painting from the Life of Santa Joana cycle, by Manuel Ferreira e Sousa, 1729. Joana and other characters are dressed in 18th-century costume while depicting 15h century events.

Portrait of Principesa Santa Joana, 1471. The portrait was painted while Joana served as regent during the absence of her father.

The Dominicans were a cloistered order and what little contact they had with the outside world took place in the Convent Gateway. Goods and messages, and occasionally an infant, were passed through the wheel. Visits with family and siblings took place through a larger screen allowing some visual contact.

Separation took place even during religious services. In the Church of Jesus, the convent’s small church, screens separated the nun’s choir stalls, on both levels of the church, from the nave of the church.

Screen looking down into the Church of Jesus from the Upper Choir Stalls

Chapter House and Upper Choir Stalls

Because of her royal status, however, Joana was allowed to visit court and often became embroiled in palace politics. Even while she lead a religious life, her father and brother continued to try to arrange a marriage for her, including a proposed alliance with Richard III of England.

A revival of interest in Santa Joana occurred in the 18th century.  The Life of Princess Santa Joana painting cycle, on the side walls of the Baroque Church of Jesus, is signed by the Portuguese artist Manuel Ferreira e Sousa. The paintings date to 1729.

Painting of Santa Joana Principesa, Church of Jesus, 1729

Azulejo tiles, Scene of Santa Joana arriving at the convent, Church of Jesus

Constant expansion and improvements to the Convent in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries hide most of the Gothic origins of the complex.

Gothic door frame surrounded by Baroque decoration

Church of Jesus in the Dominican Convent of Jesus

Convent Cloister Courtyard

Joana died in 1490 at the young age of 38. Some sources say she was poisoned by an vindictive woman at court while on a visit. In 1734 a room at the Convent was decorated with gilded wood framing paintings of her life, including a scene of her death. The cross she is said to have been holding when she died is displayed adjacent to the painting.

Santa Joana Deathbed Scene, 1734

Cross said to have been held by Joana at her death

Before Joana died, she asked to be buried in a simple way, and her wish was granted. After her beatification in 1693, however, permission was given to created an ornate, inlaid Italian marble tomb. The lower choir stalls area, converted to hold the tomb, was also decorated with inlaid marble, stone, and gilded wood. The project took 11 years to complete. The screen separating the lower choir stalls from the main body of the church was retained. Santa Joana tomb was and is a pilgrimage site for those who look to Santa Joana.

Tomb of Santa Joana, Lower Choir, Church of Jesus, Convent of Jesus

From the information I have found, there is no specific miracle, incident or action that resulted in the veneration of Santa Joana. She was admired for her resistance to marrying, for her service to her religious community, and for her humility. The fact she was royalty must have also played a role. Veneration of Santa Joana continues today. The City of Aveiro marks May 12, the anniversary of her death, as municipal public holiday.

 

Christmas Carnations

Pale Pink Christmas

Fresh carnations decorate Christmas tree at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, the house museum of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Washington, DC

Fresh pale pink carnations decorate a Christmas tree at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, the house/museum of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Washington, DC.  Post was one of the wealthiest women in the United States in her day. She collected French and Russian art and left her Washington, DC, estate and art collection as a museum.

Join Paula’s Pick a Word in December-Y 3: Pale Pink  (I am a bit behind. :))

Time Squared: #19

The Hands of Time

Clock, Musee d’Orsay, Pariis, France

Join Becky’s 30 day December Square Challenge. It’s simple. Photos must be square and must be related to time, literally or figuratively. Day 19

Tournament Ready

Knights In Shining Armor

Armor and weapons from the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy, is on display at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. The exhibit, “Knights in Armor,” runs through January 13, 2019. The Museo Stibbert ‘s collection of more than 50,000 items includes over 16,000 pieces of  armor and weaponry focusing on European, Japanese and Islamic armor from the 15th to 19th centuries. The collection belonged to Frederick Stibbert, an avid collector of armor and art, who was born in Florence in 1838. When Stibbert died in 1906, he willed his museum and collection to the municipality of Florence.

Join Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Challenge

Of the Beaten Path: The Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, California

If you are in Santa Ana, the Bowers Museum is well worth a visit. It’s original collection from the early 20th century focused on the early history of Southern California. Additional space has allowed for a broader scope.

The Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold van Pelt exhibit was fascinating. Twenty carved gemstones spill out of a carved faceted quartz egg.

Izok is a hollow, life-sized human skull. The original quartz crystal weighed 250 pounds. The finished piece, which is in two parts with a hinged jaw, weighs 6.5 pounds.

Amethyst cup with 24 flutes.

Van Pelt and his wife are also well known mineral photographers.

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