Mysteries of the Rosary in Art: St. Joseph Edition

+JMJ+ Today is the optional memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, and even though he’s only seen in a couple of scenes in the Rosary (well, three scenes, sometimes four), he’s an important figure in the Church and in the lives of Christians. (I’m not going to say Catholics and Christians because that sounds like Catholics and Christians are two different groups, a notion I thoroughly reject. All Catholics are Christian, though not all Christians are Catholic, but this is a topic for another post.) When I’m searching for art for the Rosary threads I often find art related to but not exactly for the Rosary. Today’s a good day to share some St. Joseph art I’ve found, and some interesting links, too. 

Note: A Father’s Heart: Saint Joseph comes to theaters on May 1. This is “a faith-based documentary directed by Spanish filmmaker Andrés Garrigó (Fatima: The Ultimate Mystery) for Madrid-based Goya Productions. Part spiritual travelogue, part anecdotal inspiration, A Father’s Heart visits shrines and other holy sites in countries including France, Spain, Italy, Canada, Georgia, and the Holy Land, interviewing theologians, priests and religious, lay volunteers, and ordinary people.”

The images below are by: Carlo Dolci, Pieter van Lint, Robert Campin and workshop, and Georges de la Tour. More information about each one is in the notes and links section below. The third one, the triptych, is mentioned in an interesting post by Thomas McDonald: The Devil’s Mousetrap. You might also want to see a larger image of the triptych. (That page includes various sizes.)

I have barely begun to read this book on St. Joseph in art, but here’s a sample from the introduction that got my attention this morning while I was thinking about what to do for this post.

This book aims to accompany the reader through the artistic wonderland that is Josephine iconography. It is a guidebook of sorts through the numerous historical, apocryphal, and theological vicissitudes of devotion to St. Joseph, revealing how each new facet of veneration produced a different trend in imagery. It attempts to make sense of the visual jumble of the old, young, weak, strong, silly, dignified, forceful, and meek representations that fill museums, chapels, galleries…

In the following fourteen chapters, the reader will be able to explore these different iconographies, understand their context and meaning, and hopefully find images that excite both prayer and emulation, the true purpose of religious art, according to Council of Trent.

Elizabeth Lev, The Silent Knight: A History of St. Joseph as Depicted in Art, pp. 11-12. Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition. [Links below in the notes.]

Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. (There are more things to share with you in the notes below, so maybe glance at those before you go.) May we grow in holiness and virtue during this Easter season, and, following St. Joseph’s example and with his aid, and by the Lord’s grace, become united more and more with Christ, becoming the saints we were always meant to be. God bless you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+

Collect for the Optional Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker:

O God, Creator of all things, who laid down for the human race the law of work, graciously grant that by the example of Saint Joseph and under his patronage we may complete the works you set us to do and attain the rewards you promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

Join me on Fridays for the Rosary Project Live on Twitter at 8pm ET, 7pm CT, to cultivate a culture of Light, Life, Love, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, for the conversion of sinners, and for the salvation of souls. There’s also a Rosary on the blog you can use anytime.

“The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.” — Padre Pio

Notes and Links, Recommended Reading

  • A Father’s Heart: Saint Joseph comes to theaters on May 1. This is “a faith-based documentary directed by Spanish filmmaker Andrés Garrigó (Fatima: The Ultimate Mystery) for Madrid-based Goya Productions.”
  • The Devil’s Mousetrap: An Image of the Annunciation, by Thomas MacDonald. I’ve seen images of this altarpiece by Robert Campin (and workshop) many times but I never heard of the devil’s mousetrap (or noticed it in the painting) until today. 
  • The Silent Knight: A History of St. Joseph as Depicted in Art, by Elizabeth Lev: Paperback, Kindle, EPUB. Or buy them directly from Sophia Institute Press in Paperback, Mobi and EPUB ebook formats. Follow Dr. Lev on Twitter @lizlevrome. 
  • May 1, St Joseph the Worker: “By the daily labor in his shop, offered to God with patience and joy, St. Joseph provided for the necessities of his holy spouse and of the Incarnate Son of God, and thus became an example to all laborers.”
  • With St. Joseph, let’s get to work! “Ven. Pope Pius XII established this feast day back in 1955. He specifically chose May 1 to counterbalance International Workers’ Day, or May Day.”

Images:1) Poster for A Father’s Heart. 2) The Child Jesus taking the cross of St Joseph, by Carlo Dolci, vie Wikimedia Commons, photo by Finoskov, CC BY-SA 4.0. 3)St Joseph carrying the Child Jesus on the left arm, by Pieter van Lint, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. 4)The Mérode Altarpiece, Robert Campin and workshop, in the Cloisters, New York, via Wikimedia Commons, Universal CC0 1.0, public domain. (See other sizes including a large one.) 5)Joseph the Carpenter, by Georges de la Tour, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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Annotated Table of Contents Mysteries of the Rosary in Art Series
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