This work was originally painted for and first displayed at my exhibition ‘Sacred and Profane Love’ at St. Nicholas’ Church, Burnage in September last year. For any artist of a spiritual bent, working within the Christian cannon, the pieta constitutes both an enormous challenge and opportunity for development on every level, and as painter firmly within this context, the pieta has been on my mind for many years. It has only been for the last year or so, however, that I have felt that a realistic attempt has been within my powers, so the show at St. Nicholas’, especially as the mother and child was it’s central motif, seemed the right moment to take it on, for the first, though I doubt the last time.
I hope you like it. More importantly, I hope you resonate with it on some level; as with all my work, at best, I hope it to be an aid to meditation for anyone seeking to engage with it and it’s subject.
The subject matter of the pieta, of course, is an image and event at the centre of the Christian faith and one that goes to the heart of The Madonna’s great mystery. At this point she is on the edge: The immaculately conceived Mother of Christ struggling to come to terms with the brutal, physical death of her son with all it’s reasons and implications: Suspended between all too human and divine understanding. In this painting the roles of Christ and Mary Magdalene are more clearly defined, but The Madonna is lost to us, and lost herself in profound, grief-stricken meditation. I felt she could go either way.
As with all scripture, the Christian story remains as vital and relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. How many mothers this year already have had to cope with a child’s decision to put themselves in grave danger and even to have died for a cause they believe in, especially with the ongoing trouble in the Middle East as but one example?
It is not my aim to convey any one meaning or interpretation through this painting however, but rather to present a sincere meditation on what I believe to be a moment of almost limitless profundity and insight. It is both an honour and privilege to display this work at St. Ann’s throughout Lent and Easter and, as I wrote above, if, in turn it can serve as an aid to anyone else’s personal meditations during this period, then I would consider it worthwhile.
Rob Floyd. Chorlton, Lent 2012.