collections
Mexican Colonial

Carlos Clemente Lopez

Mexico 1725-1790
Saint John of Nepomuk's Vision of the Crucified Christ 25.0168

In this painting, Saint John is in the midst of a vision of the crucified Christ. Clemente López has followed tradition in depicting Saint John dressed in the confessional garb of a contemporary priest. The confessional motif is also referenced by the open Bible in the foreground, which is turned to Psalm 39:2, "I will muzzle my mouth, so long as the wicked are in my presence." Saint John of Nepomuk (1350-1393), was a canon of the Prague cathedral who was assassinated during a dispute between the Archbishop of Prague and King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia (present day Czechoslovakia). Legend later held that Nepomuk had been martyred for refusing to divulge secrets shared with him by the queen during her confessions. He was said to have been tortured and thrown into the river Vltava (Moldau in German), from which his body was recovered and venerated as that of a martyr. Counter Reformation fervor and Bohemian nationalism increased Nepomuk's cult in the late 17th century and led to his canonization in 1729. The Jesuit order seized upon the saint, both to buttress its missionary activities in Bohemia and to emphasize the principle of the confidentiality of the confessional. The practice of the confessional was under attack from anti-Jesuit forces within the Roman Catholic Church who felt that the Jesuits were using their roles as confessors unfairly in the international intrigues of the age. Not much is known about this artist. His earliest dated works are found in the 1740s and by the early 1750s he was active as an appraiser.

 

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