Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Battle of Lepanto, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and Juan Luna's Painting

Fig. 1. The Battle of Lepanto by Juan Luna
A. The Batle of Lepanto

October 7, 1571 marks the date of the Battle of Lepanto, the date when the Christian fleet defeated the Muslim navy in Mediterranean sea:
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto (Turkish: İnebahtı; Greek: Ναύπακτος or Έπαχτος Naupaktos or Épahtos) met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina, Sicily, where they had previously gathered. The victory of the Holy League prevented the Ottoman Empire expanding further along the European side of the Mediterranean. Lepanto was the last major naval battle in the Mediterranean fought entirely between galleys and has been assigned great symbolic importance by Catholic and other historians. Some historians argue that a Turkish victory could have led to Western Europe being overrun. (Wikipedia: Battle of Lepanto)

B. Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

For the Catholic world, the victory in this battle was due to the intercession of Our Lady:
Pope Pius V had organized a coalition of forces from Spain and smaller Christian kingdoms, republics and military orders, to rescue Christian outposts in Cyprus, particularly the Venetian outpost at Famagusta which, however, surrendered after a long siege on August 1 before the Christian forces set sail. On October 7, 1571 the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, sailed from Messina, Sicily, and met a powerful Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Lepanto. Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct material disadvantage, the holy pontiff, Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory, and led a rosary procession in Rome. (Wikipedia: Our Lady of the Rosary
Before setting out, Giovanni Andrea, the Genoese admiral, had hung in his flagship a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been touched to the original image on Juan Diego’s cloak. Pope Pius V was also seeking Mary’s aid through the recitation of the rosary, and when the ships set out from Messina on Sept 16th, all the men on board had rosaries, too....  Back in Rome, Pope Pius V knew of the victory before a message could possibly have reached him by human means. During a meeting with his treasurer on October 7th, the saintly pope suddenly rose up and gazed out the window, saying “This is not a moment for business; make haste to thank God, because our fleet this moment has won a victory over the Turks.” When the official news from the fleet reached Europe, there was much rejoicing, and Pope Pius V gave credit to the Virgin Mary by declaring October 7th the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. (Aquinas and More
The feast was later renamed to the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary:
In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of the "Feast of Our Lady of Victory" to "Feast of the Holy Rosary".[10]Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the General Roman Calendar in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays. In 1960, Saint Pope John XXIII changed the title to "Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary". (Wikipedia: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary)
C. Juan Luna's Painting on the Battle of Lepanto

Our Filipino national hero, Juan Luna, made a painting on the Battle of Lepanto
Painted by Luna in 1887, the masterpiece is about the Battle of Lepanto of October 7, 1571. The painting features Don Juan of Austria (also known as Don John of Austria) in battle while at the bow of a ship....It was the Spanish Senate, through the influence of King Alfonso XII of Spain, who commissioned Luna to paint The Battle of Lepanto. King Alfonso XII's plan was to hang Luna’s Battle of Lepanto side by side with Francisco Pradilla Ortiz’s 1878 grand-prize winning masterpiece La rendicion de granada (The Surrender of Granada).[17] Another reason for commissioning Luna to paint The Battle of Lepanto was to compensate Luna for not having been given the grand prize known as the “Prize of Honor”[10] or “Medal of Excellence”[3] for Spoliarium...Luna’s The Battle of Lepanto provides significance to the “Spanish victory against the Turks”. For this reason, the widow of King Alfonso XII of Spain, Queen Regent Maria Christina of Austria, herself was the person who unveiled Luna’s masterpiece painting at the Senate Hall of Madrid in November 1887,[10] together with Pradilla’s La rendición de granada....this painting is a portrayal of national pride because the Spanish were instrumental in the victory at Lepanto and it is also a portrayal of pride in the Spaniard's Catholicism since the battle resulted in a Catholic victory. (Wikipedia: The Battle of Lepanto (Luna Painting))
Let us look again at Luna's painting in Fig. 1.  At the bow of the ship is Don Juan of Austria in full plate armor.  Behind him is a red flag, probably the royal standard of the King of Spain. Below the bow is what looks like fast white boat, and one man is trying to push the boat away from Don Juan's ship.  Or perhaps this is the beak of the ship, with two trumpeters welcoming the mayhem, as the ship collides with the Muslim ship.  The Muslim warriors are dressed in green  and some of them have have jumped into Don Juan's ship.  One of them wears a white turban.  Another one wears red.  The Muslim ship bent 30 degrees to the sides and may capsize, with the two beaks of its ship jutting out of the water.  Meanwhile, below Don Juan, a battle is fought in smaller boat.  A Christian soldier in blue jacket grabbed the neck of the scimitar-wielding Muslim fighter with his left hand, while preparing another blow with an axe in his right hand.  Behind them two Christians fire their guns to the right, while another Christian warily looks on without his helmet.   On the waters we see two persons, probably dead.  The Christian rower of the boat dodges, trying to avoid the two orange paddles--probably those of a Muslim boat.  Above the tempest of war are thin wisps of clouds against a serene sky.

The Battle of Lepanto
The Battle of Lepanto
Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World
Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World
Lepanto
Lepanto
Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto
Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY AT POMPEII* BATTLE OF LEPANTO-EWTN 1-DISC DVD
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY AT POMPEII* BATTLE OF LEPANTO-EWTN 1-DISC DVD
The Galleys at Lepanto
The Galleys at Lepanto
Paolo Veronese (Caliari) Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto 29x20 [Kitchen]
Paolo Veronese (Caliari) Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto 29x20 [Kitchen]
12 Inch Our Lady Of The Rosary Holy Figurine Religious Decoration
12 Inch Our Lady Of The Rosary Holy Figurine Religious Decoration