Jaime Andrade was an Ecuadorian sculptor and engraver from Quito, Ecuador. Themes for his work seem to be inspired by socially conscious themes the land and sky in Ecuador, the largely poor, indigenous populations- the Andes and the tropical coastal area, as well as the Inca heritage. He uses the natural properties and colors of stone and metal to create sculptural collages and play on light and texture.
|Jaime Andrade Moscoso El Arbol 21" high. The sculpture was part of the IBM collection and was exhibited at the New York World's Fair in 1940.|
In 1958 Merton commissioned Andrade to do a statue of the Virgin Mary and child Jesus in dark wood for the novitiate library. "A statue," as he explains, "that would tell the truth about God being 'born' Incarnate in the Indians of the Andes. Christ poor and despised among the disinherited of the earth." (Merton, A Search for Solitude, p. 177.)
Merton describes its imagery as "precisely that of Louis M[assignon]" Merton interpreted the mother as an indigenous Andean who reflected "a great mystery of poverty and darkness and strength" and the child as "the Resurrection to be born from the despised peoples of Mexico and the Andes" who holds a "mystical bit of fruit" that represented salvation. She represents "all that is most abject, forgotten, despised, and put aside."
"I want to say how deeply moved I am at this idea of Louis Massignons's that salvation is coming from the most afflicted and despised. This, of course, is the only idea that makes any sense in our time." (from a letter to Jacques Maritain, 17 Aug 1960)
This is a very poor scan of a not great reproduction of the Merton commissioned statue at Gethsemani. Merton took the picture, the original photograph is now at Bellarmine University in Louisville. In seeing the Mother and Child statue take place, Merton suggested that the child hold something - a branch, fruit, or root, something indigenous to South America. Definitely not corn "because of its association with bad art".