Via Crucis paintings

Christ visits His Mother

Although extra-biblical and controversial, there is a tradition in Christian circles, especially in many Eastern Churches, that our risen Lord’s first visit was to His mother after His resurrection from the dead. Many western saints subscribed to this belief, such as St. Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus, d.1280), St. Ignatius of Loyola (d.1553), St. Teresa of Avila (d.1582) and Pope St. John Paul II (d.2005). 

Christ visits His Mother

John Paul II asked how the Blessed Virgin, who was “present in the first community of the disciples, could have been excluded from the number of those who encountered her divine Son risen from among the dead. On the contrary, it is legitimate to think that the Mother may really have been the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not the absence of Mary from the group of women who approached the tomb at dawn constitute an indication that she had already met Jesus?

I humbly painted this scene symbolic of the Divine Bond between Mother Mary and her Son; a bond unique, mysterious and wonderful.

Let us celebrate the Love between mother and child, children and mothers, and mothers and the Special Gift they have in bringing life into the world.

Happy Easter and Mothers’ Day!


Stations of Mercy

With great joy I share the news of this booklet recently published by the Catholic Truth Society (Publishers to the Holy See), “Stations of Mercy with Pope Francis” by Amette Ley ©2016, illustrated with my paintings of the Stations of the Cross, commissioned in 2001 by Mons. Antonio “Tito” José Vázquez for Parroquia Santa Rosa de Lima in Guaynabo (Barrio Amelia), Puerto Rico, blessed in 2002 by our Archbishop Mons. Roberto González Nieves OFM.

Booklet by Amette Ley published by Catholic Truth Society©2016 with paintings by AVonnHartung
Booklet by Amette Ley published by Catholic Truth Society©2016 with Stations of the Cross paintings by AVonnHartung
Jesus takes up his cross, ViaCrucis station 2 painting by A.Vonn Hartung
The book cover image is a detail of the second Station of the Cross painting (Jesus takes up His Cross)

Here is the description of this booklet from the Catholic Truth Society website:

“A journey with Pope Francis along the well known Stations of Christ’s passion to discover at every step the boundless and life giving mercy of God. Each Station is accompanied by a brief scripture passage and pertinent words of Pope Francis, giving his own particular insights into mercy. These themes of forgiveness and mercy, so important during the Year of Mercy, are readily absorbed by way of this simple and long-standing devotion.”

The Catholic Truth Society is a non-profit company which has been publishing booklets for the Holy See since 1868.

I give thanks for this Blessing and Honor!

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Contemplative Images for Holy Week

View a video of these Stations of the Cross, accompanied by sacred music

 The reason for the use of Sacred Art in the Church is to make visible what is invisible, to bring us to a more heightened state of awareness and connection with God and His Saints that we might share more fully in His Glory and Love for us, that we might go forth and DO HIS WILL.

Sacred Places of Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection have always been venerated – early pilgrims retraced the Way of the Cross. So it was that the pilgrims brought back from The Holy Land the idea of recreating those sacred places and events to share with the faithful of their home churches.

It is said that Saint Francis of Assisi began the practice of the Stations of the Cross. It then spread throughout Italy and Europe. It was his practice to reproduce in a realistic way the events of our Lord’s life and deeds (an example, is his reported installation of the stable and manger with live animals and people in commemoration of the birth of Jesus).

In a similar way I conceived these Stations of the Cross to bring immediacy to the Passion of our Lord.

Each one measures 4-ft x 8-ft. This is because of the cavernous size and interior simplicity of the nave of the church, Santa Rosa de Lima, in the town of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.  Intimacy was achieved by the use of local people as models and customs so that the faithful might better identify with the trials that Our Lord and Savior suffered and died for because of His Love for us.


Jesus is condemned to death. ViaCrucis Station 1 painting by AVonnHartung

Here we see Jesus, centered, surrounded by many but COMPLETELY alone, only those admitted from the status quo on both sides (although we see Flavia, wife of Pilate and perhaps Nicodemus who represent a small group of inside sympathizers).

In the midst of a crowded room He is a lonely figure. All signs point to Him, the columns, the center aisle and all who gesture, single Him out in accusation. He is The One! The cause of all their troubles, indignation and hatred! He must DIE!


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Stations of the Cross

THESE STATIONS OF THE CROSS paintings show the process of conversion as Jesus was put to the test and tormented. His persecutors came to understand who he was.

The stations express a perspective that emphasizes the effect Jesus had on those present during his ordeal of carrying his own cross to his crucifixion on Calvary. As the bystanders are pulled into his suffering we follow by observing closely, the actual Revelatory conversion of the principal Roman soldier.  We see how the outpouring of grief and compassion of others around him begin to melt away his own cruelty and indifference.

Jesus takes up his cross, ViaCrucis station 2 painting by A.Vonn Hartung
Jesus takes up his cross
ViaCrucis station 2 painting by A.Vonn Hartung

See how he marvels at the deep and complete faith of Veronica as she wipes the face of our Lord. Others also are going through the steps of conversion from confusion and despair to an awakening clarity as seen most visibly in the others behind Veronica.

ViaCrucis station 6 painting "Veronica wipes the face of Jesus" by A.VonnHartung
ViaCrucis 6 painting by A.VonnHartung 2002

We understand how the soldier at the foot of the cross could finally come to the realization that they had crucified “The Son of God”.  (Mk 15:39)


 About the paintings

These Stations of the Cross were painted for Santa Rosa de Lima Church in Guaynabo (Barrio Amelia), Puerto Rico.  The artist conceived them with the community in mind and they include much of the spiritual and cultural qualities of Puerto Rico. Each Station measures 4-ft by 8-ft, painted in acrylic and gilded in copper and gold. They surround and crown the nave of the church.

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Commissioned by Padre Antonio “Tito” José Vázquez

Photos by Greger Norrevik