My painting of “Mary the Font” was inspired by, and is now in the collection of, Valparaiso University Chapel. During the Artist-in-Residency I had at Valparaiso University in December I continued my series of paintings about the Virgin Mary.
Since New Year’s Day is the Feast Day of Mary Mother of God – a holy day in the Catholic church, it is appropriate to share this hymn which was the inspiration for many of the paintings I made this past year.
Mary the dawn, Christ the perfect day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the heavenly Way.
Mary the Root, Christ the mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the sacred Wine.
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the living Bread;
Mary the Rose tree, Christ the Rose blood-red.
Mary the Font, Christ the cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the saving Blood.
Mary the Temple, Christ the temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored.
Mary the Beacon, Christ the haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision blest.
– Medieval Hymn
found in Divine Mirrors: The Virgin Mary in Visual Art,
ed. Melissa Katz, Oxford University Press
Mary the Font
The painting below entitled Mary the Font (from the poem above) was inspired by the baptistery and baptismal font (right) in the Valparaiso University Chapel of the Resurrection where I was working. It evokes a sense of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary at the Annunciation. The baptistery is partially below ground, so that one must literally ascend out of the earth and darkness after baptism. The metal sculpture hanging from the ceiling above the baptismal font evokes the Holy Spirit descending at baptism.