"You can kill us but you cannot do us any real harm."
-St. Justin Martyr
Death should not be seen as a terrifying incident that will one day befall us all; rather, it is the passageway into Eternal Life. For those whose souls are pure, they will, by the Love and Mercy of God, be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven, our true Home.
This painting attempts to depict the frank reality that though our bodies will die, our souls will live on. This figure is depicted headless, which implicitly indicates the type of death he suffered. There is no blood or sign of torture, but through the simple absence of a head and an opening over where his heart would have been, one can understand the circumstance of this boy. The positioning of his arms gives the impression of surrender or a lack of self-defense, as if he allowed his death to take place. Then again, what was he afraid of? They killed his body, but could not kill his soul, which is symbolized by the seven birds flying out of his heart. The number seven holds biblical significance as it represents perfection- in this case, the boy's soul is in a state of perfection to be welcomed into Heaven. Furthermore, he is wearing a golden shirt, which indicates his victory over death and the richness and treasure he has now received through his martyrdom and in attaining Eternal Life.
oil on canvas
48 x 30 in