Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chapel of St. Priscilla

Interested by "the Editor", I decided to look up the Catacomb of Priscilla and its chapel which boasts many second and third century sacred images including the Shepherd of Hermas and the three children from Daniel. There are also a few Marian depictions, one of which might be the oldest image of the now artistically familiar Mother and Child scene.

Criticize my logic if you will, but is there any way the beardless figures in any of the above images could be St. Joseph? I object to the idea that St. Joseph could be depicted as beardless in principle. Given that he was a non-Roman and especially given that he was a Jew, he would have kept his beard after having grown it. Depicting someone without a beard meant that the individual shown had not yet reached puberty or some semblance of adulthood. Was the flight to Egypt led by a thirteen year old boy?

In all seriousness, the newly young and virginal St. Joseph of the Counter-Reformation is problematic not in the ideas he espouses, but in that he is not the St. Joseph of the Church's historical tradition.

1 comment:

  1. Given that it is a Roman picture, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Joseph is depicted as clean shaven, according to the Roman fashion. This is not a photograph. St. Joseph, in reality, would not have shaven, but it is wrong to assume that later artists (who had never seen Joseph) were conscious of that, or, even if they were, that they cared.