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The faces of Mary

· The essay ·

Sometimes it is a heavy but warm brown cloth (like a Russian icon dedicated to the Virgin of Tenderness), sometimes a revealing almost transparent veil that illuminates the face (Sandro Botticelli). Sometimes it becomes a cloak long enough to encircle her completely from head to toe, a cloak that varies from bright red (Rogier van der Weyden) pink pearl (Beato Angelico), from pure white (a miniature from the eleventh century) to the classic blue (Simone Martini). Sometimes, it even extends far enough to frame even the new born Son (Melchior Broederlam) or the body of Jesus placed upon the Cross (Jean Fouquet). But the veil of Mary proves itself, for eternity, a fabric that can be transformed into a crown (Enguerrand Quarton). These are just some of the many faces of Madonna told by Jean Vanier in the iconographic book Visages de Marie(Mame, 2001), in which the story of the Virgin is represented throughout time. The time of waiting, the time of joy, the time of separation, the time of glory: between art and literature, the song of Vanier hails Mary. And the grace of her veil.(@ GiuliGaleotti)




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 19, 2019