Saint Emilian Masterpiece
This is a canvas 180 x 250 cm. representing the martyrdom of Saint Emilian or “Aemilios”, a soldier of noble and superior spirit as a great leader in war should be. On May 22 in the year 251, Emilian was tortured and decapitated in the city of Carthage. This particular canvas is destined to embellish the church of Saint Emilian at Kab Elias in the Bekaa region of Lebanon and is offered to the birthplace of former President of the Lebanese Republic Emile Eddeh by his son Raymond Eddeh, leader of the National Block.
The work was executed by Joseph Matar after he had made several preparatory studies. In the centre, we see the saint on his knees on the altar of his country, while in the foreground lies the body of another martyr, Saint Castos. The earth is watered by the blood of its sons. On the right one sees the gang of cut-throats who have perpetrated the slaughter.
On the left is a bay over which turn, not one sun, but several. Once again there is a group of people in the middle ground and background, human beings of all ages, women, children and the very old, all witnesses of the bloody scene.
In the distance, one sees the outline of a mountain, the earthly paradise of the Lebanese range. Up in the sky on the left, an army of angels transports the soul of the holy martyr to the paradise which is in heaven. Oils St Emilian – Copyright
Here is the struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil. Paradise with the virgin and the saint received in full glory. A small panel bears the date 251. The head of the saint is all light.
He was already united to the cosmic light even before his head was struck off. At the bottom of the canvas a band 25 cm. wide bears the inscription: A homage to Lebanon giving glory to the nation.
Brother Jean Delalande – Lebanon Art Editorial
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