The First Paintings
The story behind the original painting is described in "Diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul".
There are two early versions of the Divine Mercy, the Vilnius and the Hyla. Countless more copies are based on these first two.
The saintly Fr. Michael Sopocko , St Faustina's confessor, graciously modeled for the first image from which I have copied the close-up face.
The Vilnius Icon
This Vilnius' image of Divine Mercy was viewed for the first time in public during celebrations marking the close of the Jubilee Year of the Redemption of the World from April 26-28, 1935 at Ostra Brama (the “Dawn Gate” to the city of Vilnius).
It was then hung in the corridor of a convent near the church and Jesus instructed St. Faustina, 'Tell the confessor that the image is to be on view in the church and not within the enclosure of the convent that it’s in. By means of this image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it' (570)."
"In 1943, Adolph Hyla painted an image of The Divine Mercy as a votive offering to the Krakow-Lagiewniki Chapel of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in thanksgiving for his family’s preservation during the war. This 'Hyla' image is still in that chapel, directly over the mortal remains of St. Faustina and is often confused as being the first image" (pictured below).
Over the years there have been many different renditions of the original Hyla image and paintings of Jesus, as the Divine Mercy:
The 'Hyla' image by Weber, painted in 1992, the 'Skemp' image by Robert Skemp and painted in 1982, the 'Shrine' image painted in 1945 by Maria Gama under the direction of Fr. Joseph Jarzebowski using a photograph of the original 'Vilnius' image.
There's been a surge of interest in this devotion since St John Paul II's promotion of it; resulting in even more painted translations.
A Face TOO Beautiful
Jesus, must have known that there would be "quantities" of Divine Mercy images painted:
"Who will paint You as beautiful as you are?”
This is what he told Saint Faustina after she complained to Him about her disappointment with the original painting.
Jesus assured her: “The greatness of this image lies not in the beauty of the color or the brush, but in My grace” (313). Excerpts from Divine Mercy Journal.
Divine Mercy Shrine Fact
Located in Poland. More here.
The "bush tossed by strong winds, symbolizes the modern world or man confused by different currents of opinion. Within the bush above the tabernacle stands the image of Merciful Jesus".
Photo from my 2014 pilgrimage:
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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Christine M. (CM) Jentz.
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“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (St. André Bessette)