DIPTYCH: THE WEDDING RECEPTION AT CANA (LEFT PANEL)
Oil on cradled canvas
4.5’ x 6’
November 16 - December 4, 2019
The first miracle of Jesus, the transformation of water to wine at a wedding reception in Cana, was possibly a midrash not only to mark the beginning of Jesus’ ministry but also a foreshadowing of the later mystery of transubstantiation. Jesus and Mary are depicted as dressed in fine clothing because the Jews were properly attired in attending rituals and celebrations; as such, every Jew, whether rich or poor, owned at least one set of their best clothing. Such clothing was not necessarily expensive. Due to the conquests of Alexander the Great in 336 – 323 BCE and the subsequent entrance of Hellenism in Rome there was much commerce with India, Persia, and Egypt, among other countries. The design on Jesus’ robe deliberately suggests the modern, Catholic priest’s chasuble, which is worn during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which the mystery of transubstantiation occurs.
This is the only miracle of Jesus in which Mary is present. She and the jugs of water are at the center of the painting. Her arms and hands are in repose—it is the men who roll up their sleeves and do the work in response to her word. This episode, then, also reflects a son’s love for and obedience to his mother. The hands of Jesus and the hands of the servant boy are connected to each other by the diagonal line formed by the right arm and the hands of Mary.
The dark storage room on the right alludes to yet another miracle, that of death and resurrection, which occurred inside the tomb of Lazarus, and in which another woman also named Mary figures. We may infer that this kind of resurrection is a metaphor for conversion from non-Christianity to Christianity, and that the servant boy’s first-hand experience of Jesus’ miracle leads him to follow His teachings.
On a psychological level, the brightly lighted dining hall on the left represents the Conscious; the prep chamber, where the miracle occurs, the Subconscious; and the dark storage room on the right, the Unconscious.
This was the auditory stimulus I used while making this painting. The auditory stimuli I use have nothing to do with the subject matter of my paintings: