If in the 13th century Ismail al Jazari had had the opportunity to design a cigarette lighter, I feel sure his painting would have looked something like this.
He would have incorporated a sealed pot to hold the gas and somehow tied down a piece of flint. There would have been a cog that when turned could adjust the height of the flame and the whole mechanism would have been put in a decorative box.
As with the previous machines, I’ve used the phonetic alphabet to give the painting an air of mysticism. The strange symbols and the addition of the mathematical formula for a burning match gives it a real sense of this being a scientific document.
Continuing with the modern emoji saints, here we have St Emygdius. Born in Treves, Germany, he converted to Christianity and made his way to Rome. On route he performed a number of miracles and cured the sick, as a result the pope made him a bishop and packed him off to Ascoli Piceno.
When Emygdius arrived the governor, Polymius, offered his daughter’s hand in marriage and tried to get him to worship Jupiter. Instead Emygdius converted her to Christianity, incurring the governor’s anger, who then had him beheaded. St Emygdius simply picked up his head and walked off into the hills, where his followers built an oratory.
When, in 1703, Ascoli Piceno was spared destruction during an earthquake, people put it down to the hand of Saint Emygdius. He has ever since been invoked against the effects of earthquakes and is always shown holding up a crumbling building while dressed in his episcopal robes.
Other saints in this series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick , St Michael and St Francis
This forms part of the modern emoji saints series. The idea that if Byzantine or Early Renaissance painters were working now, how would they have portrayed religious topics. As emojis, obviously.
So, if you’re looking for an angel to take your battles to the enemy, Saint Michael is your guy. He is often pictured as a warrior angel, fighting the foes of heaven. In Revelations he takes on Satan and wins, there are also paintings of him defeating serpents and dragons.
Attributes of the saint
St Michael is fully equipped for the task and is shown wearing armour, carrying a sword and spear with his banner attached. He also is depicted holding the scales of justice, where the lives of sinners are in the balance. Tradition has it that the colours associated with him are Royal purple and cobalt blue, this accounts for his colourful attire.
The archangel is a popular figure as patron saint, he is the protector of Jewish people and guardian of the Catholic church. The people of France, Germany, the Ukraine, Brussels, Kiev and Dumfries. Enforcers also look to St Michael, so police officers, the military, paratroopers, firefighters and paramedics call upon him. Strangely enough, so do grocers and the sick.
Other saints in the series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick, St Francis
St Cosmas & St Damian
The two brothers, Cosmas and Damian came from Arabia. They were Christian physicians who freely administered care and relief to the sick of the area until their martyrdom in Syria, in 287 AD.
When arrested and tortured they proved pretty indestructible, surviving hanging, crucifixion, stoning and being shot at with arrows. Still they refused to recant their beliefs, so the Prefect of Cilicia ordered the pair beheaded.
The brothers are most often depicted together surrounded by medical paraphernalia. Due to their healing skills they have been adopted by physicians, doctors, surgeons, dentist and veterinarians as their patron saints. St Cosmas is usually associated with physicians and is depicted holding a pestle and mortal, while St Damian is normally shown holding some form of remedy.
Other saints in this series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick, St Michael and St Francis
I thought the four great saints of the British and Irish isles would be a great set to paint. Each has their own idiosyncrasies, their colours, attributes and associations, all are colourful characters.
Saint David, a peaceful preacher who is pictured in full regalia, with his crozier and a dove. Being Welsh, it wouldn’t be right not to include a daffodil and a dragon. The colours reflect the red, green and white (hence the clouds) of the Welsh flag too.
George has been adopted by many countries, along with the English, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro are all patrons of the armour wearing, spear wielding, dragon killing saint. He has also been adopted by the scouting movement, the military and syphilis sufferers.
Andrew the Apostle is another favoured saint and as well as the Scots, the people of Georgia, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Spain are also great followers of the man. Scotland’s interest stems from the belief that relics were brought from Constantinople to St Andrews in Scotland. He was crucified on a Saltire cross and this accounts for the white cross on a blue field that makes up the Scottish flag.
Ireland’s Romano British missionary who is feted as the founder of Christianity in Ireland. He famously used the shamrock as a tool for teaching the holy trinity and is credited with driving all the snakes out of Ireland. It is also said that his old walking stick when thrust into the ground and left, grew into a tree.
The four can be bought as mugs or postcards, which would make excellent gifts for anyone interested in the saints of the British and Irish isles.
Other saints in this series include – St Francis, St Michael, St Emygdius, St Cosmas & St Damian
Posted in Painting, watercolour
Tagged Andrew, cross, David, Dewi, dove, dragon, George, Patrick, saint, Saltire, shamrock, watercolour