Catholic Artwork

Old images of Catholic Art (with some commentary)

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The Merciful Knight

The Merciful Knight by Burne Jones

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The Merciful Knight
by Edward Burne-Jones


Decked out in battle array, ready to fight to the death against all foes and cast with the fortitude of iron, the iconic knight kneels for his most gentle and humble King —Christ on the Cross. We notice an uncertainty, even a meekness of spirit, in the face of the knight. Is he feeling remorse for his sins? Is he truly terrified of the fight he will soon enter? Are these going to be his last moments of breath? Does the title Merciful Knight indicate that he has already shown mercy, or is the knight asking for the grace to show mercy to his foes at the proper time?

If we can interpret the look on his face as an act of charitable contrition and a plea for strength, then we can derive that the Knight will achieve his physical and spiritual goals. Jesus, coming down from the Crucifix in this wayside shrine, provides us with an artistic testament that His grace (working through us) will conquer all.

“And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily.The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Romans 16:20