LIFE AS MYTH

Index

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JOURNAL

Index

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JOURNAL 2010

2010

A vision quest

Finding a guiding light

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SUMMER 2010

Showing the way

Index 2010

St. Luke

The guild of St. Luke

She who shows the way

Kells virgin

The Black Madonna of Częstochowa

Madonna of mercy

Madonna of childbirth

Madonna of rebirth

Finding a guiding light

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LIFEWORKS

About

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ARCHIVES

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SUMMER 2010
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MADONNA OF CHILDBIRTH

madonna

(above) Madonna del Parto [Madonna of childbirth]. Piero della Francesca. ca. 1459. Museo della Madonna del Parto, Monterchi. (right) Madonna del Parto. Nardo Cione. ca. 1355-60. Museo Bandini, Fiesole.

 

cione madonna del parto

The Madonna del Parto is a fresco painting by Piero della Francesca. One historical account reports that Francesca completed the piece in seven days while in Sansepolcro for his mother's death [1459]. The painting features a liberal amount of blu oltremare, also known as ultramarinum [beyond the sea], obtained from imported lapis lazuli. Popular with Italian painters in the fourteenth and fifteenth centures, blu oltermare was also very expensive, at times exceeding gold in cost. Artists were sparing in their use of it, reserving the color for the robes of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child.

The motif of Madonna del Parto is one found in Tuscan art beginning in the 14th C. In these paintings, the Madonna usually stands alone and holds a closed book over her belly, signifying her embodiment of the incarnate word. Here Francesca reveals her within a pavilion, with two angels opening its panels. This opening is then mirrored in the panels of the Virgin Mary's robes. One interpretation describes the pavilion as representing the original Ark of the Covenant. In this context, the pregnant mother of Christ then becomes the vessel for the new covenant.

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