Molitoriz   l   Ton Smulders


2023         35 x 35 x 182 cm

mdf, cardboard, paint, candle light holders, candle wax, nails


The triptych (triptych) or polyptych (polyptych) was often used as a form for altarpieces in the Middle Ages. This allowed multiple aspects to be combined into a whole, with each part still forming a completed composition.

The core motto of the Birgittinessen Sisters is Amor meus crucifixus est, my love is the crucified one. The sisters spend their days in prayer and contemplation of Christ's suffering. Their head covering is the so-called Birgittine crown of white band with red dots at the five intersections in reference to the five body wounds of the Crucified One. In addition, the sisters wear, not directly visible, a ring depicting the crucified Jesus with Mary and John under the cross.

At His crucifixion, above it was written: I.N.R.I., short for Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Mockingly, he was also given a crown of thorns on his head. A crown (in Swedish krona) as a symbol of prestige and power, and that for a simple carpenter's son. Earlier a whole crowd hung on his every word, but in his last hour only Mary and John were present.






The panel on the right of the photo is based on a painting by Rogier van der Weyden from c. 1457, painted for a monastery near Brussels, which now hangs in the church of the Escorial, the palace of Spanish King Phillips II. At the bottom of the cross, Mary and John lament the deceased.
The image is made with candle wax. The 5 prayer candles refer to Christ's body wounds. Five red dots. They are practically empty, the memory ebbs away.
Once upon a time, every Brabant village had one or more monasteries, full of brothers and sisters. Most monasteries are closed, the remaining ones virtually extinct. Only a few sisters still live in this convent in Uden as well.

below: Letter relief where each line of squares represents a letter, the number of squares is the location of the letter in the alphabet: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, and so on. C.R.O.W.N.
Pictured left: Drilling holes in a panel creates tiny illuminating rings. A single one may be insignificant, but as a group, in context, it takes on meaning.
Above, the text on the cross as letter relief.