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Archbishop praises new painting of Scottish martyr

By on Monday, 22 November 2010

A cropped version of the new painting by Peter Howson

A cropped version of the new painting by Peter Howson

Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow has praised a new painting of Scottish martyr St John Ogilvie as “powerful” and “prayerful”.

The painting, by celebrated artist Peter Howson, will be placed in St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow once renovations are complete next April.

It shows St John Ogilvie, a Scot who became a Jesuit priest and ministered secretly to Catholics in Glasgow, with his head in a noose just as he is about to be hanged.

Archbishop Conti said he was “delighted” with the work. He said: “It is a painting of great intensity which will not only be highly regarded as a work of art, but will also be an aid to prayer and reflection, which, is after all, its primary function.

“It shows John Ogilvie just before the noose is tightened, revealing both the heroism, but also the sadness of the occasion. My hope is that it will become a much-loved image which people will travel to see, and from which they will draw inspiration.

“Only Peter Howson could have delivered such a powerful but also prayerful canvas and we are immensely grateful to him for his work.”

Mr Howson, who was made an OBE last year, converted to Christianity in 2000 after being treated for alcohol and drug addiction.

Before studying art he served as a soldier and was the official artist for the 1993 Bosnian civil war.

  • Joel Pinheiro

    Not that the painting is bad, but it is very far from sacred art, isn't it? It looks very much like a graphic novel, and makes us think more of death and decay than on God and spiritual reality.

  • Auricularis

    The artwork is surprisingly moving.

    No one could imagine the terror that all saints, being human, go through before martyrdom. Only by God's grace, are they sustained.

    While its not sacred art, it's still emotive and powerful.

  • Rideoutracer

    i disagree ,i think it is very much sacred art,i will put my neck on the line and that howson is probably the greatest painter of human emotion since rembrandt,the emotion etched on john ogilvies face is very very precise,it is an extremely powerful work that stirs the soul.a masterpiece.