St Edmund martyr painting recreated by 100 artists in Suffolk

  • Published
The Martyrdom of St Edmund by Brian Whelan, 2004Image source, Brian Whelan
Image caption,
The Martyrdom of St Edmund was painted by East Anglian-based artist Brian Whelan in 2004

A painting depicting the death of St Edmund, the former King of East Anglia, is being recreated by about 100 people in Suffolk over the weekend.

Artist Tina McCallan is running the project at Wingfield Barns, near Eye.

The recreated work is based on Brian Whelan's painting The Martyrdom of St Edmund, which hangs in the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

Participants will be given a square of canvas to paint. Once complete, the new version will be displayed in churches.

The project was commissioned by David Streeter, a retired vicar from Stradbroke, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury, of which St Edmund is the patron.

'Through 100 eyes'

Ms McCallan has carried out a number of public recreations of other works of art at places including the National Gallery, Glastonbury Festival and a Lincolnshire pizza factory.

Image source, Tina McCallan
Image caption,
Members of the public will help recreate The Martyrdom of St Edmund

Mr Whelan's original painting depicts Edmund, who is believed to have been elected King of the East Angles in 855 AD, and was beheaded by the invading Danes in about 870 AD after refusing to denounce Christ.

It was completed in 2004.

'No experience necessary'

Ms McCallan hopes up to 100 artists and members of the public will help paint a new version. No experience of painting was necessary, she stressed.

"I grid out the canvas and then copy the image into that. It's a little like the way the Old Masters worked," she said.

"About three or four people can work at the same time.

"Occasionally we get a bit of nudging and smudging, but people are generally very aware that others are working in close proximity.

"The project allows the community to create their own masterpiece... demolishing the idea that art is something elitist and inaccessible."

Image source, Tina McCallan
Image caption,
The project celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury
Image source, Tina McCallan
Image caption,
The finished painting will be displayed in a number of Suffolk churches

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