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History: Saint Cecilia

Proceeding to the left from the Lucas Museum of Art, the first of the mezzanine murals is that of Saint Cecilia, presented to the Marywood School of Music, through the generosity of Justine B. Ward, a benefactress and patroness of the school.

A tone of high courtesy and great refinement, even timidity, dominates the picture. The technical argument is simple, the draperies exquisite; there is an absence of detail, a charming subordination, the traditional composition and old motives being retained in all phases of the portrait, but the artistic touch of the Venetian Renaissance also is evident.

Saint Cecilia, Raphael-like, holding a lyre, stands at rest looking up to Heaven in an attitude of listening to the angelic chorus pictured above her. On her left is an angel with a 'cello and on her right an angel with a lute. Harmony exudes from the picture. There is an ease of composition and delicacy of line, a fine balance revealing the essential idea of music, the universal emotional language in the classic tradition and yet transcending it.

Saint Cecilia has been proclaimed Queen of Harmony because her life was one melodious song in the midst of the greatest trials. Her abandonment to God and her boundless confidence in Him was so great that they enabled her to make souls pure that had sought only earthly pleasures. The "Book of the Holy Gospels lay ever on her heart." In the evening of her wedding day with the music of the marriage hymn ringing in her ears, She, a rich, noble, beautiful Roman maiden renewed her vow of virginity to God. Her young husband Valerian and his brother Tibertius were so moved by her Consecration, that like her they devoted themselves to Christian ideals of perfection and all three had their offerings crowned with martyrdom. In the second century after Christ these three young martyrs were united to Him, having pledged their love for His teaching with suffering and with death.

 


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