Adoration of the Host

The entire United States has suspended masses indefinitely due to the pandemic. Which is an odd feeling indeed! It feels as though we as Christians are returning to an underground church of sorts, in which we aren’t allowed to participate in mass freely in the way we would normally choose to do so. Though we have online masses as sort of a consolation, it is still not as fulfilling as going to mass and partaking in the Eucharist.

And so, for this Sunday, I would like to share with you one of my all-time favorite paintings of the Eucharist:

The Virgin Adoring the Host, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1852. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States.
The Virgin Adoring the Host, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1852. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States.

And it’s so cool… the Virgin Mary is adoring the Host while two French saints (alas, I do not know who they are, though they look to be kings) look on.

And it’s so clever too because usually when the Virgin is depicted adoring anything, it is usually Christ. For example, this picture which depicts her (wearing the same colors, no less!) shows her at the Nativity.

The Adoration of the Shepherds, by Girolamo da Carp, c. 1535-40. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States.
The Adoration of the Shepherds, by Girolamo da Carp, c. 1535-40. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States.

In both pictures, the Virgin is adoring Christ. Just… in different ways. One through her newborn baby, Jesus Christ. The other through the Eucharistic Host, which is Jesus Christ.

Nor was this the only picture by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres of the Virgin adoring the Host. He did this for the future Emperor Alexander II of Russia as well, though the saints are different. Instead of French saints, he painted this with St. Nicholas and St. Alexander Nevsky, who is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

Madonna with Chalice, by Jean Auguste Dominic Ingres, c. 1841. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia.
Madonna with Chalice, by Jean Auguste Dominic Ingres, c. 1841. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia.

And then he made this version for his wife, though it is definitely in a different style for a number reasons. Instead of the Virgin adoring the Eucharist alone, both Madonna and Child look upon the Eucharistic feast with St. Anthony of Padua and St. Leopold of Carinthia in adoration.

The Virgin and Child Appearing to Saints Anthony of Padua and Leopold of Carinthia, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, c. 1855. Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
The Virgin and Child Appearing to Saints Anthony of Padua and Leopold of Carinthia, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, c. 1855. Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.

Anyway! Even though we may not have Eucharist with us, take heart! Jesus has promised to be with us anyway. So, let’s not despair! As Jesus Himself said:

NABRE

Matthew 28

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

He is with us, even now, and He still loves us so much.

So, let’s use this time of separation to fall in love with Him even more. And may we never ever take for granted His Presence again!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

2 thoughts on “Adoration of the Host

  • March 23, 2020 at 2:24 am
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    ❤️ Thanks for posting this, Karina.

    Reply
    • March 24, 2020 at 4:07 pm
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      No problem! I think we all needed it after the week that we had, honestly…

      Reply

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