The Victory of Faith

You could be forgiven for wondering what this painting is doing in a blog themed around religious art and architecture, but its title is “The Victory of Faith”.  It supposedly shows two devout Christians who have been captured by the Romans, but who have refused to renounce their faith in Christ, and so are to be sacrificed to the lions in the arena on the morrow.  They are sleeping peacefully beneath a sign of the cross that they have somehow scratched into the dungeon wall behind them, secure in their faith, and in the knowledge that they will be received into heaven as martyrs.

"The Victory of Faith" 1890-91:  St Gorge Hare, Irish, 1857-1933.  National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

“The Victory of Faith” 1890-91: St Gorge Hare, Irish, 1857-1933. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

The artist is St. George Hare, an Irish artist who usually specialised in portraits, but exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy in London in 1891.  It was, apparently, his first major treatment of the nude, but not his last.  The painting is in the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia, and their caption includes the droll observation, “The depiction of naked women in chains seemed to hold a special interest for Hare, and he returned to the subject frequently.”

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  1. Good heavens!

    • Indeed. That is supposedly what these young ladies are hoping for.

      There are plenty of books about, say, Japanese or Indian erotica, but I’ve never seen one about Victorian England and the moral contradictions between its conventional proprieties and the wealth of its erotic imagery, both classical/mythological and religious. Now, there’s another publishing opportunity waiting to happen.

      • Indeed it is – I’m sure such a tasteful volume would appeal to many different markets!!!

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