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Mary & Eve

Artist, Sister Grace

Mary & Eve, 2003

Colored Pencil & Crayon Drawing

PICTURED: 11x14 print of the original artwork titled Mary & Eve.

The artist is a nun of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance from Dubuque's Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey. The Poem included was written by a different Sister from the same community.

The community where this work of art was crafted, is a cloistered, monastic community of Trappist nuns.

Yea,I have a lot of questions too! See below for links to more info!

But first let me tell you why I love this piece and why I am so proud to own the print.

I enjoy the conceptually rich details of this work of art.

Mary and Eve are both framed by a beautiful fruit tree, which I assume is a reference to the tree of Life as it features an abundance of fruit, while Eve holds the infamous bitten apple of temptation close to her heart.

In the midst of this vibrant natural color scheme I came to realize that Eve is only covered by her long locks of hair. Eve's flowing hair coupled with the warm rich color scheme and natural organic forms reminded me of the Art Nouveau international modern style of decorative and applied arts that began in the late 1800's.

But to me, this piece had a contemporary feel and that was confirmed when I learned that it was in fact created in 2003 at the turn of the 3rd Millennium. How it differs from Art Nouveau is that there is a postulate approach and a rooted concept behind this art. It was not just created for beauty although it is, beautiful. Trappist Nuns are of the Roman Catholic faith so, we have to assume that this narrative is from the point of view of Christianity.

With a vibrant warm yellow backdrop and the embrace of our two protagonists, The artist, Sr. Grace, softly leads us to the visual contrast of our heroin, Mary, the virgin Mother of God. I love the concept of Mary's visual contrast and how it creates for us a focal point. as a window to her contrast in this narrative of Adam and Eve. In history just as the first woman Eve, is depicted naked hiding herself with whatever she could find. The virgin Mary, is often clothed in white and blue to symbolize her purity.

This color scheme that is naturally produced by the narrative of the scene and the history of its two female protagonist, is also guided by the color relationships that Sr. Grace creates for us around the color wheel.

The tree of life as I assumed it was, but I can't help and think it could also be the true vine, also found in the narrative, with its branches that bear good fruit.

Here Sr.Grace gives us a vibrant triadic colors scheme. She creates a focal point with Mary by the complimentary color contrast.

As the eye moves around the composition down to the serpent's head being crushed by Mary's heal more of the narrative is being revealed.

We follow the serpent's body that is wrapped around Eve's leg and foot binding her, and it seems that after he has finished with Eve he attempts to attack Mary, but is stopped with a swift blow to the head.

The serpent, the enemy, is stopped from reaching the fruit of Mary's womb. Mary the tree of life that bears the most blessed fruit of all, Jesus Christ.

If you read our Divine Spark inspiration post, you will learn that we were inspired to create this website from St. John Paul II, 1999 letter to Artists, in which he coined the term third millennium artists. Mary & Eve, by Sr. Grace was created at the turn of the 3rd Millennium and is the epitome of what the letter to artists from the Holy See inspires.


Written by: Milena Jackson


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