Well, Saint Aggy certainly is proving to be quite problematic!
First of all, thank you, everyone, for all your efforts, energy and thoughts. It's very touching. I actually wrote a great big long message to you all last night but my computer swallowed it, so here we go again:
I absolutely agree with everyone that the gruesome (and even suggestive) images are to avoided altogether. I merely included some of those in my list of links to give you an idea of what was out there. I would think it entirely inappropriate to give such an image to a woman who has just lost both her own breasts. I want to give my sister-in-law something comforting and inspiring, not something that will only remind her of the trials she's been through. So let that one be laid to rest. No severing, no breasts on a platter, no blood and no shears in sight!
That having been said, there are other symbols that let us know a saint is Saint Agatha: these are the palm frond and an erupting volcano or fire (she was saved from being burnt at the stake by an eruption of Mt Etna). And you'll find in some of the images, she is represented as a virgin holding a palm frond with a halo and maybe a fire or volcano in the background. Nothing gruesome at all.
Meredith, you're quite right about the artist I mistook for Caravaggio- sorry, my mistake. I agree with you that all the dark colours would make it a difficult cross stitch.
I think the best two are the second stained glass window, the one without the shears (is that the one you found is still under copyright, Meredith?) See link:
and the orthodox icon I posted originally.
I personally don't feel that the window is too general or obscure. We know it's Agatha because of the palm frond and her name is written in the pane to the right of her head.
I also like the orthodox icon and to be honest, I don't really mind if it looks a little postery.
The other criteria which is so unique to this project is that my primary objective is to be able to give the finished product to my sister-in-law as soon as possible, rather than to have a jolly old time stitching it. So, in that sense, I would prefer something smaller and don't miind if it's poster-ish. At least for me at any rate, Meredith, although you might choose to do a larger version as well for the larger SQ community.
At the end of the day, we still want something that she'll be able to hang on her wall after all this is over which will look pretty, and in that sense, I think the window is prettier than the icon. So, if it is not under copyright, it may be our best choice.
I still believe in Saint Aggy, just because things are difficult is no reason to give up, especially not now, we've only just begun!
Thank you, everyone again, for all your wonderful support.
Meredith Site Admin
Joined: 23 Feb 2004 Posts: 128
Unfortunately the window was done around 1959 so it is definitely under copyright. I could do a pattern based on the Cariani cropping out the lower part of the picture but I think the icon will be faster to stitch since I can take out the background. Since Alanna says she would like something pretty, and since the icon is not well-known, I've taken the liberty of "colorizing" it since for me the biggest issue with its attractiveness is all that drab brown. Most icons do seem to be browns on gold but maybe they would have used prettier colors if they'd had them?
Not to be pedantic, but I believe the palm branch is simply the symbol of any martyr, and many saints are shown with them. I didn't notice the volcano in any of the paintings - it certainly is specific to St. Agatha - I will have to look again!
I'm proceeding with a St. Agatha based on the icon and hope it will seem appealing. I'm making it background-neutral so you can stitch on any color fabric you like - gold if you can find it, or whatever you think would look good.
Thank you so much for going to all this trouble, Meredith, I can't thank you enough. I think it's a wonderful idea to 'beautify' the icon a little, and I'm sure I can get the feel of all that burnished gold by using silks or something. Although I agree with you that the Carini would be more arty, it would take much longer to stitch and it is a shame to have to alter the original artwork. What a pity the window was still under copyright. Oh well, I just know you're going to do a fabulous job on the icon and can't wait to see the results! Thank you again and we'll hear from you soon.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, MEREDITH!!
I feel so honoured that you've gone to all this effort for me. I'm just so grateful.
I see from the new page for this pattern that Meredith has also taken the very forward-thinking step of donating 20% of all sales of this pattern to a cure for breast cancer. What an absolute gem. So everyone, get your Saint Aggy here!