Keith Mayerson


St. Christopher (after Titian, with Washington D.C. and Yosemite in the background)


I love the Old Masters, and although much of their work was by commission, how their paintings transcend the commission is what is "them" about it, and Titian was one of the best. This fresco is from 1524, and was commissioned by Doge Andrea Gritti, and is in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. He had him paint it over a staircase leading to the doge's apartment, as a symbolic icon protect him from assassination. He is a Christian martyr, who may or may not have really existed, indeed his story might have come from ancient Greek mythology. To serve God, he carried travelers across a tumultuous river, and at one point, a small child was on his shoulder who was incredibly heavy as the river grew raging around them. When crossed, Christopher exclaims to the infant, "You have put me in the greatest danger. I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were." The child replied: "You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work." The child then vanished. Thus he is the patron saint of travelers, and icons of him prevail not just in paintings, but in carried in some form by believers to give them safe passage. In the original, the huge saint insures the Child's protection for Venice which appears in the background. In my version, I've replaced this with Washington D.C. on the left, and Yosemite Valley on the right. In our current times of great strife, I hope to bring new life to these characters, ancient "superheroes" of their kind (resplendent with their capes!) to hope to help give protection to America, and everything politically, socially, and in our beautiful nature to keep it at peace.