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St. Magnus icon

By Theophilia
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St. Magnus icon
© Cecilia Lawrence
January 15th, 2019
8x12 inches
9 Hours
Ink, watercolor, gold acrylic


“This truly is a Martyr, who shed his blood for the name of Christ,
who did not fear the threats of judges but attained the heavenly kingdom.”

~ Entrance Antiphon for a Martyr

I was commissioned to make an image of St. Magnus for St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. They have the authentic relics (the skeletons) of both Saint Bonosa and Saint Magnus in their church, so I was very honored to work on this image for them. :nod:

I decided to make Magnus’ crest forward-facing (as opposed to the typical imperial side crests that one normally sees on a centurion) as I had seen some images about the period where that was also a plausible orientation. This also enables the viewer to see the cross better. The sword being worn on the right side is also intentional—evidently that was pretty common among legionnaires. Since the gladius was so short, it could be pulled directly up and out, which was helpful in the closely-packed ranks of the Roman army as it enabled the sword to be withdrawn without wounding anyone else. I also gave him a scale armor breastplate (which is barely visible :XD:) because that was also fairly common as well. Many thanks to AMELIANVS who very kindly shared a lot of reference images and information detailing centurion armor, weapons, and clothing from the 200s. Sadly, I did not end up using most of the information he gave me because Magnus’ cloak is covering up most of his armor. :XD: But many thanks nonetheless. :salute:

:iconrose5plz::iconrose6plz::iconrose7plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose-2plz::iconrose3plz::iconrose4plz:

:+: A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE SAINT :+:

Saint Magnus (c. 160 A.D. – c. 207 A.D.), was a Roman centurion who was martyred along with his companion the virgin-martyr St. Bonosa. They were both martyred in the Colosseum in Rome under the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus (who reigned from 145 to 211 A.D.). One account of their martyrdom relates that Magnus was so impressed by Bonosa’s courage and staunch defense of her faith that he became a Christian and joined her in the Colosseum. He fought to save her life but was killed alongside of her. After their martyrdom, the bodies of Magnus and Bonosa were interred in the catacombs of Pontiani in Italy. In 1700, their relics were given to the Cistercian Nuns in nearby Agnani, Italy. In 1901, the Italian government seized the convent and forcibly removed the nuns from the monastery. Soon afterwards, the pastor of St. Martin of Tours in Louisville, Kentucky—a priest named Monsignor Francis Zabler—requested relics for his church and was given the relics of the two saints with the permission of Pope Leo XIII. The relics were carefully packaged and shipped across the Atlantic and arrived in Kentucky in February of 1902 where they were transferred to the church of St. Martin of Tours. The bodies of the saints were placed in glass reliquaries under the side altars, with St. Bonosa on the left and St. Magnus on the right.

In 2012, the side altars and the glass caskets were in need of repairs, so the church decided to have the relics officially examined by a specialist. In May of 2012, a local archaeologist on staff at the University of Louisville named Philip DiBlasi volunteered to study the relics and perform a thorough forensic analysis of them. The bones of St. Magnus were fairly fragmented and incomplete—only about 45% of his skeletal remains were complete. However, DeBlasi was able to determine that he was a male who died around the age of 45 who was of Caucasian and Mediterranean descent. St. Bonosa’s skeleton was well-preserved and 95% complete. DiBlasi discovered that she was a female who was right-handed, of Caucasian descent, between 5’0—5’6 feet tall, and had died around the age of 24. Her knees also bore marks of significant stress which indicated that she often squatted and knelt—perhaps doing either laundry work or kneeling in prayer. The teeth of both saints had been worn down from eating stone-ground bread, and their remains also revealed that they had been interred in an open-air burial. CAT scans of the two skulls were performed by a local hospital and donated to the church, which hopes in the future to have facial reconstructions done of both.

Once the repairs were completed on the side altars and sarcophagi, the bodies of the two saints were reinterred at a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form on September 9th 2012 and their relics remain there to this day.

:iconrose5plz::iconrose6plz::iconrose7plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose-2plz::iconrose3plz::iconrose4plz:
“The Church everywhere flourishes through the glorious deeds of the holy martyrs. With our own eyes we can judge the truth of our song, that the death of his saints is precious in the sight of the Lord. It is precious in our sight and in the sight of the Lord as well, for in his name they died.

But the price of these deaths is the death of one man. See how many deaths he paid for by dying himself ! For if he had not died, would the grain of wheat have been multiplied? You have heard what he said on his way to his passion, which was our redemption: Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

On the cross he made the great exchange. There the purse which held our price was opened, for when the soldier's spear opened his side, the price of the whole world flowed forth. Thus he purchased the faithful and the martyrs. But the faith of the martyrs has been tested; their blood is the proof. They paid back the price Christ paid for them, thus fulfilling the words of Saint John: Just as Christ laid down his life for us, we too must lay down our lives for our brothers.

Elsewhere it is said: You are seated at a great table. Observe carefully all that is set before you, for you also must prepare such a banquet. The table is large, for the banquet is none other than the Lord of the table himself. No one has his guests feed upon himself, and yet this is precisely what Christ our Lord does; though host, he himself is both food and drink. The martyrs recognized the food and drink they were given, in order to make repayment in kind.

But how can they make repayment, unless he first spends his riches on them and gives them the means to repay? And what does the psalm we have sung recommend when it says: The death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord?

In this psalm man ponders the great things he has received from God, the great gifts of grace from the almighty: God created man, sought him when he was lost, pardoned him when he was found, supported him when he struggled in weakness, did not abandon him when he was in danger, crowned him in victory, and gave himself as the prize. Reflecting on all this man cries out, saying: What shall I give the Lord for all he has given me? I shall take up the cup of salvation.

What is this cup? It is the cup of suffering, bitter yet healthful: the cup which, if the physician did not first drink it, the sick man would fear to touch. Yes, it is the cup of suffering, and of it Christ is speaking when he says: Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me.

Of this cup the martyrs said: I shall take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. But are you not afraid you will weaken? No, they reply. And why? Because I shall call upon the name of the Lord. Do you think martyrs could have been victorious, unless he was victorious in the martyrs who said: Rejoice, for I have overcome the world? The Lord of the heavens directed their minds and tongues; through them he overcame the devil on earth and crowned them as martyrs in heaven. Blessed are those who have drunk of this cup! Their torments are at an end, and they have taken their place of honor. And so, my dear ones, consider: although you cannot see with your eyes, do so with your mind and soul, and see that the death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord.”
~ from a sermon by Saint Augustine

:iconrose5plz::iconrose6plz::iconrose7plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose-2plz::iconrose3plz::iconrose4plz:

:rose: The Feast of St. Magnus is celebrated on August 19th. :rose:

Almighty ever-living God,
by whose gift blessed Magnus
fought for righteousness' sake even until death,
grant, we pray, through his intercession,
that we may bear every adversity for the sake of your love
and hasten with all our strength towards you who alone are life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
IMAGE DETAILS
Image size
2648x3800px 3.8 MB
Date Taken
Jan 15, 2019, 11:54:28 AM
Published:
© 2019 - 2020 Theophilia
Comments42
anonymous's avatar
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AMELIANVS's avatar
AMELIANVSStudent Traditional Artist
Hi! 
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks again for your help! ^^
AMELIANVS's avatar
AMELIANVSStudent Traditional Artist
You're welcome Hug 
Severusiana's avatar
SeverusianaHobbyist Artist
Fantastic and magnifique
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thank you!!
rhunel's avatar
rhunel General Artist
Wonderful, very thoughtfully done, and congrats on the commission.
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thank YOU!!! :glomp:
rhunel's avatar
rhunel General Artist
Giggle Hug 
PhilowenAster's avatar
I'm not sure what I'm more impressed by: the story, or the fact that there are two first-class relics here in America! (Starts saving up for pilgrimage...)
TheTrueEmperor's avatar
could you give me a link where I can find more detailed about this sant??
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
:D
Libra1010's avatar
 As a soldier's death go, martyrdom while fighting to save a Lady is better than some; still tragic, but at least not without purpose.:( (Sad) 
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
:nod:
BroezThing's avatar
BroezThingStudent Artist
Wow...
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
:meow:
shibamage's avatar
shibamageHobbyist Writer
Beautiful! The art, and the account of his martyrdom.
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
szynszyla-stokrotka's avatar
szynszyla-stokrotkaHobbyist Writer
Beautiful!! Not a Saint I'm familiar with but an amazing image!! I love how you drew the palm tree and helmet :)
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks!! :aww: Metal can be hard to paint, but fortunately I was able to find a reference that worked well. :nod:
szynszyla-stokrotka's avatar
szynszyla-stokrotkaHobbyist Writer
You're welcome! That's awesome that you could find that :) I've never tried painting on metal. I think I have tried wood in the past but I was in elementary school and it was for a project.
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Oh sorry, I meant I find it hard to paint metal as in using watercolor and acrylics to make a convincing-looking metal. I actually haven't ever painted on metal before. It might be interesting though. I definitely like painting on wood. Much nicer than canvas in my opinion.
szynszyla-stokrotka's avatar
szynszyla-stokrotkaHobbyist Writer
Don't worry!! I'm sorry about the confusion!
It would be interesting to try lolol

Really? Does wood soak the paint up better or is that harder? I know wood takes forever to dry as I have gotten it wet before lol
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
I mean, I've only ever painted on wood after putting on primer first, so the primer does all the soaking and makes the base for the paint to adhere to. I mostly just like the smooth texture of wood, along with the fact that I can press hard on certain areas and don't have to worry about overworking them as much. I always feel like I'm about to puncture a hole right through the canvas whenever I'm painting on canvas. :XD:
szynszyla-stokrotka's avatar
szynszyla-stokrotkaHobbyist Writer
Oh I didn't even think of the primer!! I painted on wood as a kid without it.
Interesting. You press hard when you paint? I don't really paint (the paint never goes in the spot I want it to) but I would like to learn to do it. But I press too hard with pencil crayon.
anonymous's avatar
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