Please help with the imagry in this painting


#1

I snapped this photo while on vacation, but I’m having a hard time identifying all the symbolism.

  1. The hand at the top would obviously be God the Father. However, the Thumb, index and middle finger extended, with the ring and pinky folded is not clear. A reference to the Trinity?

  2. I’m not sure what to make of the animals along the bottom. They appear to me to be sheep that were shorn. By the different positions of their legs, it appears that they are walking.

  3. The people at the sides appear to me to represent the choir of angels. Some of them have cymbals and other instruments. but some have items I can’t identify. On the bottom, two people to the right of Mary, there’s someone holding something that looks to me like a lower-case omega (like a “w”) with a cross. Similarly, on the left, two over from the Justice image there’s something that I can’t identify at all. It looks almost like a compass or other drafting tool.

  4. I’ve never seen before two angels holding up the world. Does that refer to something in the Bible or other tradition?

A bit of info that may help: this is from Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, OH. The Latin is from Exodus “The Lord is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation”. It is a shrine associated with several miraculous cures.

Any help is much appreciated!


#2

i’m so sorry - i’m afraid that i’m not able to help you with interpreting the symbolism, but know that i will be praying that you figure it out, and/or that someone helps you. :slight_smile: please take care, and God bless you. if you ever need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me, as i am always here, and will always care.

love,
in the peace and love of Christ,
alison xx


#3

Both the Trinity (thumb, index and middle fingers) and the two Natures of Christ (ring and pinky fingers) and His Being One Person (the two fingers pressed together).

  1. I’m not sure what to make of the animals along the bottom. They appear to me to be sheep that were shorn. By the different positions of their legs, it appears that they are walking

It could be a reference to those who follow the Good Shepherd, or the Lamb of God (or Both).

It’s magnificent!


#4

1. The hand at the top would obviously be God the Father. However, the Thumb, index and middle finger extended, with the ring and pinky folded is not clear. A reference to the Trinity?

Yes. In the Byzantine tradition, the thumb, index, and middle finger are joined to symbolize the Trinity, and the ring and little finger are folded to signify the union of two natures in Christ.


#5

This is truly a magnificent piece of art. It’s extremely interesting and as I write I’m studying the image up close very carefully. It seems like some type of Orthodox painting from the eastern church since Jesus appears dark. I’ve never seen such odd symbolism myself. Those two little beings sitting before the throne of Jesus, I’m not sure if they’re angels or who they are, but are you sure they are holding the world. It looks to me like a round dark hole, but if you saw it in person then maybe it was more clear as the world. The part that I noticed was Mary is pointing to that round dark globe or hole and it’s clear she’s bringing it to Jesus’s attention. Maybe this is her intercession for us and she’s begging his mercy upon the world. That makes sense. the animals are a very strange representation of sheep and why would they appear shorn if they are. At first I thought they were horses because of the length of their legs, but they probably are sheep, just strange looking ones. I see the small ‘w’ on the right and can’t even imagine what that might be and the symbol on the left I cannot locate since the painting is so dark. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful but this is my impression of the artwork. It’s an awesome painting and I could stare at it for a long time for study and I probably will.

Blessings.


closed #6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.