Saturday, October 4, 2008

How Bizarre

Nice to see this stuff mentioned in the readers art section of the current issue of Bizarre magazine!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saint Blaise

Saint Blaise (or Blasius)

Blaise was an Armenian Bishop who was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded. He is often depicted showing the implements of his torture, the iron carding combs. These have been misinterpreted, predictably enough, and he has become the patron saint of the wool trade(!). The similarity of the torture devices and the wool carding tool are pretty obvious- have a look here. In the book Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs there is mention of a similar device, an iron currycomb which was used to tear the flesh.

The Jewish encyclopedia also mentions this method in the tale of the Ten Martyrs: "The third victim was Akiba, whose flesh was torn off with a carding-implement."

I imagine these implements would have a similar effecton the flesh as Freddy Krueger's custom made gardening gloves, hence my dishevelled interpetation of Blaise here.

The legends attributed to Blaise are many, he was said to live in the woods curing wild animals, and he is regarded as a patron saint of wild animals by some. He was also said to have walked on water among other miracles.

Blaise, according to legend, saved a boy from choking on a fish bone and he has subsequently become associated with a cure for throat ailments. Crossed candles are used for the blessing of throats on the feast day of St. Blaise, which falls on February 3, the day after Candlemas on the Catholic calendar of saints.

"Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo." (May God at the intercession of Saint Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tortures and Torments of The Christian Martyrs

I've just received this in the mail. It's a study on the torture techniques used on early Christian martyrs.. a nice bit of light bedtime reading.

It features medieval engravings depicting the various methods that were used in the early days of Christianity. The perpetrators were amazingly inventive and astonishingly cruel in their methods.

This book is meant to be a serious work on the history of torture but this revised edition has an appendix featuring illustrations from contemporary artists like Peter Bagge and drawings by convicted serial killers like Charles Manson and John Wayne Gacy. I'm in two minds if this is a good idea or not but , given the theme of this blog who am I to criticise?

Monday, February 4, 2008


There are lots of stories of religious persecution and cruelty in Ireland's history. During Henry VIII's rule all "Popery" was ruthlessly suppressed. According to one account, Theobald (de Burgo or Burke), a Dominican Friar and a group of like-minded catholics went to Dublin to 'maintain the Popes' supremacy'. All were horrifically tortured and put to death. ( some of these might make an appearance later..)

Theobald himself had his heart torn from his still living body.

And here he is(-- sorry it's late , I cant think of anything more to say about him right now...)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Saint Agnes

Poor little Agnes..sentenced to death by burning, her captors were vexed to find the wood would not light.

So they cut her head off instead.

She's often depicted holding a real significance , it's just that her name sounds a bit like "lamb" in Latin-- really! (that's what wikipedia says anyway)

I just liked the paintings I've seen of this virginal little girl with a great big gash in her throat.
So I just swiped the idea.

In some images she is seen with a dagger in her throat--come to think of it that would have been much better!

might come back to this one..

St Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc- another very familiar image. Commander of the entire French army at 17, executed by the British at 19. Famously portayed in film by Ingrid Bergman( mmm) and also Milla Jovovich (mmmm mmm) amongst others.

But when I think of her I don't think of injustice, misogyny, a peculiar soldier girl from France from the history books..

No.. I think of this pop song by OMD from the 80s..

I'm sure Joan would be thrilled

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Saint Sebastian

Sebastian, martyr, human pin-cushion, gay icon..
There are many, many depictions of this saint and the one thing that strikes me is that he seems to know a photo-op when he sees one; making luurve to the camera like Jonathan Rhys Myers.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saint Agatha

The girl who started it all...

Here is Agatha, brutally tortured and killed then, perhaps most insultingly being mistaken for having a fondness for bells.

Saint Lucy. What's this then?

The Martyrs. Noble, selfless, prepared to die (preferably in a horrible way) for their beliefs.

Some of the saints I'll be adding here met with bizarre deaths. There are the usual burnings, beheadings and so forth but some are so twisted I found myself laughing out loud at the sheer ..perverse horror of it all.

I began thinking of this project some time ago when I first heard about Saint Agatha, 'Patron of the Bells'. She is traditionally depicted holding a tray on which rest two bells. Well, It turns out that the bells are actually her breasts that her interrogators have cut off. Nice eh?

So here, the first in the series is my first martryed saint, St. Lucy (Lucia). She is also a tray carrier but what's that she's serving up? Why it's her own eyes! Because a man complimented her on their beauty, she plucked them out and told him he could have them, for she was betrothed to the lord. That's pretty convincing.