Daniel Sammon – Praying Hands

danDaniel Sammon
 lives in Renvyle, Co Galway. He is currently enrolled in the MA in Writing course at National University of Ireland Galway. He has written four books, including one book of poetry. In 2009 he walked from Renvyle to Dublin to commemorate and celebrate the 1916 Easter Rising. The story of this walk is recorded in his first book, My Great Walk Across Ireland, launched in 2010. The following year he took up academic studies again earning a Certificate of Distinction in Legal Studies. In 2011 he published his book of poetry Take Your Ease & Rest Awhile, Enjoy Some Poetry From Renvyle. In 2012 he achieved a Certificate of Distinction in Self-Employed Accountancy & Taxation from Kilroy’s College in Dublin. In 2013 he went back to the Open College in Dublin and received once again a Certificate of Distinction in Creative Writing. In 2014, he launched his book Saints off Connemara Coast & Other Stories. Croagh Patrick & Me is the fourth book from the pen of Daniel Sammon. This book was launched in Renvyle House Hotel by Eamon O’Cuiv TD, on 25th October 2015. https://mywalkacrossireland.wordpress.com/


Praying Hands

By Daniel Sammon

There were so many children in the family – reputed to be 18 – kids had to sleep in the bottom of the bed as well. Though the father had what many would regard as a good job – that is, being a goldsmith by profession, he would still work at any other job he could find, often for eighteen hours a day to look after all the children as well as his wife and himself.
Often at night, in the crowded bed, before going to sleep the boys would talk among themselves about what they would like to become when they grew up.
Two of the boys dreamed about becoming an artist, but the chances of bringing that dream about seemed to be at great odds.
Nevertheless they came up with a plan to bring it about.
praying-handsThey would toss a coin and whoever lost would go down into the dangerous mines and work to finance the other with his studies. When the first one would graduate from college he would then finance his brother to also become an artist.
The first brother was named Albert and the second one Albrecht.
Albert went down the mines and Albrecht went to the Academy in Nuremburg, where his drawings, portraits, etchings and his wood-cuttings were often much better than most of his professors.
When he graduated, he went on earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.
Not long afterwards he went back to the small village outside Nuremburg and to his family.
They were extremely proud of his achievements and his success. A large party was organised to which many friends, neighbours and of course family were invited. After much wine, merriment and a lavish dinner Albrecht stood up to speak.
Everyone went silent, so as not to miss a single word he would say.
He started off by saying he wanted to drink a toast and pay tribute to his beloved brother who had gone down the mines and worked so hard to finance his college fees and made possible his studies as an artist. ‘Now, it’s your turn’ he said to his brother. ‘Now you can go to college and become an artist too’.
‘No, no’ said his brother ‘It is too late for me’.
‘My hands are broken and crippled with arthritis. With those broken bones in my hands I could not draw delicate lines or sketches or paintings. I can not even hold the glass to return your toast’.
More than five hundred years have passed since then.
Albrecht has thousands of paintings, sketches and portraits in museums all over the world.
Most people just know of one of these – it is known as the Praying Hands.
It took one year to do so and it was painted in 1508 by Albrecht Durer to pay homage to his brother that sacrificed so much so he could become an artist.
He painstakingly painted the hands of his brother with the palms together while just the bottom of the sleeves on each arm was showing and he called it simply – Hands – but it is known throughout the world henceforth as the Praying Hands.
The motto of his painting is that no matter how good you are or how adept you become with your talents and skills no one makes it alone!
Next time you see it hanging on a wall or on the TV at Angelus time, take a second look!



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