There is a spiritual kind of sensibility in the air which is very tangible for me at Christmas time. It has much to do with my childhood experiences of singing Christmas carols by candlelight in cold churches, the orangey smell of the Christingle mixed with candle wax, and my life changing art history course in Italy when the Catholic churches of Florence and Rome in December really came alive in my imagination. All of this means that I am at my most spiritually receptive at this time of year, particularly when it comes to admiring Renaissance and pre-renaissance gilded altar pieces and religious masterpieces. And it is for that same reason that when it comes to my own creativity, I love creating Saint Norms.
First inspired by an altarpiece I saw in the Accademia in Venice, my Saint Norms was a collection of illustrations started in early 2014. The last two I made were later that year, following our move to Mallorca. With Santa Lucia and Saint Nicholas, I laid the collection to rest…that was at least until now. For following a recent visit to the magnificent Cathedral of Palma, I became inspired by the island’s own patron saint, Ramon Llull.
Born in 1232 in the turbulent period following the reconquest of Mallorca from islamic rule, Ramon Llull was a writer, philosopher and Franciscan tertiary famous for creating what is quite possibly the first major work of Catalan literature, and for his prominent work on elections theory and computation. While he may just have been a happy-go-like writer of salacious poems, he turned towards saintliness following a continued apparition of Christ on the Cross, the likes of which first came to him as he sat writing in his Mallorquín home.
Such is the scene now imagined here in this latest Saint Norm sketch, which also includes all of the traditional trademarks of Mallorca craftsmanship, from the ancient zig zag frescoed ceilings, to the Mallorquín lenguas fabric cushions on his chair.
Now my latest Saint Norm is completed, I finally feel fully ready for Christmas.
© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com