Note: Julia has provided a second painting, Fetal Sacred Heart, since this article was originally posted on April 4. See photo below and larger photo here.
April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - What does beautiful art have to do with the pro-life movement? Plenty, if you are Julia Holcomb, former girlfriend of rockstar Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.
“Art plays a very important role in the culture of life,” said Holcomb to LifeSiteNews.
“The culture of life is under attack. All around us is a culture of death that is pushed on us. It’s really evident when you study sociology and see the ideas of contraception, abortion, divorce, and homosexuality being forced on our culture through mass media. Art is a kind of antidote to that mass media, especially high art in the classical realistic style.”
Julia was 17 when she found herself 5 months pregnant with Tyler’s first child. At that time she was engaged to marry him. One day, while Tyler was touring with his band, their apartment caught fire and Julia barely survived. While in the hospital recovering from smoke inhalation, she was coerced into a horrific saline abortion. (Find more about Holcomb’s relationship with Tyler and the traumatic abortion here.)
The now-Catholic wife and mother of 7 children has continued her love of painting ever since her high school years. She recently finished a course at the Toronto Academy of Realist Art and has plans to spend 6 weeks this summer in Florence at the prestigious Michael John Angel Academy.
Holcomb’s latest stunning work is Our Lady of the Roses, a piece that will be auctioned at the upcoming gala dinner for LifeSiteNews (LSN), which is celebrating 15 years of covering the stories that define the pro-life, pro-family movements worldwide.
Our Lady of the Roses immediately strikes the viewer as a work of genuine artistry for its beautiful and deeply symbolic meaning. The medium is oil on linen and measures 24 by 30 inches.
The beautiful Virgin Mother wrapped in a stunning ultramarine robe holds the Christ child in her arm, fixing her eyes reverently on him as the cause of her joy. She holds a red rose in her left hand.
Christ, about age 5, gazes invitingly towards the viewer. He reaches out to embrace the rose, which is symbolic of his life and his passion. The gesture of the young child suggests his intention to share the rose with the viewer.
The viewer may be delighted to discover an awakening desire to share in the joy of the intimate communion between the holy mother and her child. All the viewer must do is accept the rose.
Holcomb told LSN that she has a “special love for Our Lady” and that she felt that it would be appropriate to paint a Marian icon for the April 28 gala dinner in Washington that she and her husband Brad will attend.
Our Lady of the Roses was painted in the tradition of eastern iconography. The halos around the virgin and child are leafed in 24 carat gold. Holcomb painted the image in an atmosphere of silence, prayer, and contemplation. The symbols masterfully woven into the image were chosen for their Catholic meaning in the tradition of the icon.
Holcomb explained the meaning behind the symbols to LSN.
The rose is a universal symbol of Mary and Jesus. “The bloom specifically refers to Christ as the rose of Sharon while Mary is the stem from which the bloom bursts forth,” she said.
The painting’s background consists in a pattern of sweetbriar roses. The five petals of the Sweetbriar are symbolic of the five wounds of Christ.
A magnificent peacock at the top left of the painting dually signifies the Holy Spirit and the human soul adorned with the fruits of the Spirit.
A vibrant pomegranate on the bottom right symbolizes Mary’s fruitfulness while an embellished M on the bottoms left is a monogram of the first letter of her name.
A small angel on the top right of the painting reminds the viewer of the mystery of the Annunciation and the Incarnation.
“Painting is something that inspires me,” said Holcomb. “When we present an idea in image form, we can take it all in at a glance. A picture paints a thousand words. Iconic language is something we understand at a subconscious level.”
Holcomb believes that art is “very powerful” at conveying spiritual truth. It is one of the main reasons she loves to paint.
“I think that art is a very silent contemplative way of communicating to people a spiritual vision,” she said.
Holcomb executed a similar painting recently for the benefit of her son’s law school that was auctioned for $10,000.
Julia Holcomb’s magnificent Our Lady of the Roses will be included with a number of other works by notable pro-life artists to be auctioned at the April 29 Gala.
Find out more about LifeSiteNews’ Gala Celebration.
See official list of distinguished pro-life leaders who have committed to attend the event.