Saturday, 23 January 2016

XCVII. St Anthimus, the Knight of the Holy Trinity

Part mummy, part bare skeleton. Encased in gilded plate armour bedecked with jewels. I haven't developed him much yet, but he will be a patron saint whose remains are thus embellished and venerated as a relic. Miraculous properties are associated with such relics. This practice is not uncommon, it occurs in different parts of the Empire. Each year, on St. Anthimus day a procession is held in his honour. Unlike statues, banners and other bones, the saint is not carried during the procession. He walks. That's all I know about him for now.


An inspiring sight for the faithful.
The Shield of  the Trinity.
The saint's eyes are a pair of rubies, and a golden halo encircles his head.


THE BUILD



The breastplate idea, with windows that show the ribcage underneath, came from the armoured skeleton of St Pancratius. I really enjoyed converting on this one.
 In order to make his pose more awkward and "shambly," I cut off his right leg and slightly repositioned it.

The shield comes from the Blightkings kit. Skulls and spikes had to go.
The rays of the halo are leaves of an etched brass fern.

THE INSPIRATION


St Anthimus was inspired by the catacomb saints phenomenon.

Catacomb saints are skeletons exhumed from catacombs on Vatican's command in order to be dressed up as relics of Catholic saints and sent to German, Austrian and Swiss towns. This was done in response to Protestant iconoclasm, starting in the 16th century and continuing through the 17th and further on. Even though they were presented as saints and clad in finery, gems and gold, the skeletons were in fact anonymous early Christians. Some of them might have been actual martyrs, though.

The skeletons are very visually striking. If you're interested in learning and seeing more, there is a book dedicated fully to catacomb saints: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, by art historian and photographer Dr. Paul Koudounaris. More about his book in this ARTICLE.



Another source of catacomb saint images is a series of photographs by Toby de Silva. I cannot find the man's official website, but a quick Google search will get you to some more examples of his work.

Photograph by Toby de Silva.
Photograph by Toby de Silva.
Photograph by Paul Koudounaris.
Photograph by Paul Koudounaris.
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The Shield of the Trinity St Anthimus carries came into being when, rummaging through my bits, I found that Blightking shield. I really like that bit, and it instantly reminded me of this:

From Heraldry: Its Origins and Meaning, by M.Pastoureau.

This is the Shield of the Trinity, or the Shield of Faith. In the above image we can see it in the coat of arms of God from Medieval times, and this book is probably where I first encountered it. The Scutum Fidei is a diagram that visually expresses the doctrine of the Holy Trinity:

Making this an actual shield was a great opportunity for some freehand on the miniature. I had to adapt it a bit, due to lack of space in the shield's centre. There was no way I could comfortably fit Deus and three ests there, so I painted that part simplified: with the ests as simple lines. And the Deus got a place on Anthimus's belly plate.

Different versions of the diagram:


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The idea of these dead saints walking as a part of processions in their honor came from a ludicrous article I came across some time ago. This is probably not the exact text I read back then, but it says the same thing: LINK. Basically, is speaks of mummies in Indonesia actually walking to the place of their birth as a part of a funeral ritual, animated by magic of “a witch doctor”; and it presents this photograph as proof of the claim. The photograph in question is indeed real, but it documents a different sort of rite. Anyway, absurd as that story was, I immediately thought it was a pretty neat concept to adapt and use somehow in a fantasy setting.

21 comments:

  1. Another absolutely stunning piece, Ana, and an example of the kind of miniature that can only really ever be found on this blog --marvelous!

    The gold and gemstone effects are fantastic, but the freehand scripture on the shield is probably my favourite part. The pose is also quite wonderful, as the "shambly" impression you mention works brilliantly. It's also been a joy to learn about the real world imagery that has gone into creating the model!

    My gut feeling says he would be even cooler with an ermine cape, though ;)

    Anyway, fantastic work!

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  2. Absolutely brilliant! And even cooler seeing how it's rooted in actual history and folklore.
    Beautiful painting too, the tarnished and decayed colors are perfect.

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  3. Best sigmarite I've seen so far.

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  4. This miniature is fabulous. Excellent concept and execution, something truly unique. I really like how you have the ribcage exposed by holes in the breastplate.

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  5. This is the best use of a Stormcast model I have ever seen. You fully capitalized on the concept, and really make it look like a shambling wreck of a creature. I love the rusty tattered look you achieved with the paint scheme too, and how you cut the serrations into the blade.

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  6. Great work as always! I really like the chest pice, where you can see the ribcage underneath.

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  7. Pretty darned spectacular. A conversion tour de force.

    Great post too. Very much enjoyed the background info.

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  8. Fantastic looking conversion and paint job! I love how his head is leaning over and it is haloed by that angry star! The modifications to his breastplate to reveal his ribcage is also a nice touch. Thanks for going into all of your inspirations for the model, it was a great read. I may have to buy that book by Paul Koudounaris....

    Keep up the great work!

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  9. Amazing. Such a well planned and suberbly executed conversion.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts behind the mini. Very inspirational!

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  10. One of your best models to date!!! Both concept and execution. He reminds of the skeleton warriors from Disciples 3

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  11. Truly terrific and disturbing! Yet again you strike gold.

    Have you read the Empire or Death also by Koudounaris? An excellent companion piece.

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  12. Holy shit! That shield is inspired. It works so much better when shaved down.

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  13. Thank you all for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoy the conversion, and the rest of the post. :)

    @krautscientist - I don't know about an ermine cape. But he'll be getting a cute little squire to follow him around.

    @Alexander - no, unfortunately I haven't read it. And Koudounaris has made yet another one: "Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us." That one takes us to places all around the world.

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    1. It is well worth it. He seems to be quite the expert on the dead and buried.

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  14. I wonderful theme and marvellous execution The depth of character to your pieces is sublime.

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  15. I love the contrast between the skeletal relic and all its finery. You've captured that strange essence of your inspiration, that combines overwhelming riches with crumbling remains. What is particularly appealing is that your figure doesn't have that alertness common to many fantasy undead figures - the posing gives the impression of an animated shell, rather than a self-aware entity.

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    1. Thank you, axiom! That's exactly what I was going for, and I'm glad to hear I was successful in executing the concept. :)

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  16. Great idea! Your works are very inspiring for me.

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  17. He looks great.

    I find it such a disturbing idea of taking pieces of dead people and turning them into jewellery and icons....

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