The Parish of Saint Rita in Madrid enriches its artistic heritage with a beautiful oil painting of Saint Ezekiell Moreno

To Saint Ezequiel Moreno (1848-1906), Augustinian Recollect saint born in Alfaro (La Rioja, Spain), whose mortal remains rest in the chapel dedicated to him next to the basilica of the Virgin of the Way of Monteagudo (Navarra), the Augustinian Recollects pay special tribute to her veneration, so the Parish of Saint Rita commissioned the painter Santiago Bellido Blanco to paint an image of the Alfareno saint to encourage the devotion of the faithful.
News | 2023 Sep 19

The temple of Saint Rita, given its initial architecture and embellishment, does not allow special additions decorative elements, so the figure of Saint Ezequiel Moreno, missionary in the Philippines, formator in Monteagudo, missionary in Casanare and bishop of Pasto in Colombia, canonized In 1992, he did not have any image that represented him for the veneration of the faithful, especially all because Saint Ezekiel Moreno is a special protector of those sick with cancer, illness from which he himself died.

When remodeling the crypt of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, located below the temple, it was seen that it was about time to order an image of Saint Ezekiel Moreno, when a large cloth was clean on the wall of the atrium of the same crypt, where the painting could be located.

Having made the decision to obtain an image, the parish priest, Friar Alberto Moreno, took the necessary steps to come into contact with Santiago Bellido, whose pictorial style was known for having previously worked for the Augustinian Recollects.

He was commissioned to create an oil painting that matched, due to its size, the Christ of Reconciliation, from sculptor Martínez Penella, placed on the wall in front of which Saint Ezekiel Moreno. Therefore, large in size. Bellido came one day, took a thousand measures and, as he already knew the life and miracles of the saint he was going to represent, he began his work, an oil on canvas measuring 1.60 meters wide by 2.60 meters high. There have been practically twelve months that Bellido has been thinking, imagining and composing his magnificent work, always open to questions and suggestions. On September 4, he ended it, once he gave it two coats of varnish.

Bellido was asked what name he gave to this painting. His response was: “for me simply Saint Ezekiel Moreno”, which he describes like this:

“Different representative figures and symbols are arranged around the figure of Saint Ezekiel.” from different moments in his life. The saint appears centered, the main character, ordering the composition in a noble way and stable.
Three accompanying figures surround him, ordering a lyrical diagonal that collects the faces of all the characters. Racial traits have been chosen to represent the places where the saint carried out his mission: the boy is Filipino, the man is American and the woman is European. At the same time, each one is a symbol of the three theological virtues. The boy, illuminated and dressed in white, and in an attitude of reception and joy, it symbolizes faith. The mendicant woman cared for by Saint Ezekiel represents charity. And the man who goes to the saint with concern represents hope. He wants this figure to express the illness, which marks like a corpuscle on his chest, and he goes to the saint for relief and healing.
Behind them he stands with a powerful presence in the composition, but discreet in the figuration, a mule. It wants to reflect the eventful life of the saint, filled with anecdotes related to his rugged journeys in which he was accompanied by this pack animal. The mule serves background to the figures, and with a horizontal silhouette it complements the vertical one of the saint and divides the box in two fields.
In the foreground, the figures acquire a scenographic character, more dramatic and with Baroque elements in tones and arrangement. Beyond the mule, a colorful landscape appears in which shows the convent of Our Lady of the Way of Monteagudo, in a construction phase attributable to the 19th century. The landscape follows a more modern coloration and it guesses an atmospheric and real nature. The situation of the convent builds a new dramatic diagonal that balances the previous one and helps to perceive a classic triangle in the first flat.
The landscape above, with its naturalistic coloring offers the vision of an idealized world. The convent as a place of illusion, where harmony and perfection are sought, relating with divine beauty. At the bottom, the chiaroscuro. It is not a world devoid of light, beauty and joy, but does not deny the difficulty and pain. At all times we wanted to avoid overview of the painting an atmosphere of heavy drama; therefore the desired color wants show the joy of the life of holiness. For this reason, a representation has also been chosen young man of the saint, most inspiring and exciting.”
Santiago Bellido
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Augustinian Recollects Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine.

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