Type: Embroidered painting
Technique: Mixed embroidery
Year: 2015 - ongoing
Dimension: 20 x 30 cm | 7.9 x 11.8 in
Number of stitches: over 160,000
Thread length: over 1.8 km | over 1.1 mi
Thread colours: 21
Development: over 110 person hours
The embroidery of St. Mary Help of Christians is based on the most popular sacred image in Slovenia and is made upon the oil painting by Leopold Layer from 1814. Layer painted it very loosely following the motif of Lucas Cranach the elder from 1517, kept in Innsbruck Tirol, Austria. The Layer’s version has Slavic facial features and vestments from the 18th century in contrast to the Germanic ones by Cranach. Golden crowns were added on the original painting in 1907, following a special papal permission.
This piece was for us a unique opportunity to utilize a broader range of embroidery threads in order to achieve special effects: golden metallic threads were used for the crown, while the veil is embroidered with a thin transparent thread that almost vanishes into the rest of the image, yet still gives the viewer a hint of Mary and Jesus having their heads covered. Many details had to be handmade stitch by stitch to achieve perfection and turn the embroidered art into a worthy reimagining of the oil painting.