13 THE MOTHER, THE SON
"If only that were true: mother and son" is what the mother is thinking, "I am a mother who has lost her only son, a mother without a son". Undoubtedly this is one of the most painful things that can happen to women, certainly in a culture like ours where child mortality has been reduced to a very rare occurrence indeed. In this case the circumstances only make matters worse for this particular mother. The son was a grown up man, and how grown up indeed! He detached himself from her to go his own way, and again, what a way it was! He became the victim of judicial murder and was executed by the most gruesome instrument of torture the Roman occupation force had at its disposal and which for that very reason was reserved for slaves. Ted Felen has painted a pieta in its very essence. The mother with her 'big boy' on her lap. The same lap he used to sit on as a toddler. The lap? Not really, a painter can express things that are beyond the creative possibilities of a sculptor. The mother is not really carrying the child in her lap. Rather, the child, the son, the man has returned to the womb and is resting there, seemingly unharmed, an embryo, matured and undamaged, of a moving beauty and full of promise. He is not really resting there either. On the contrary, however dead he may be, a mutual and remaining affection is visible nevertheless. Like mother, like son. She turns towards him, full of sorrow. His dead body is vaulted towards her. Both have closed eyes. They do not see with their eyes, but with an inner sight, with their hearts. The blue colour of Mary's cloak and veil is not the pale blue painters have traditionally used in Christian iconography, but the dark blue characterising the son on the two previous stations. Like son , like mother.