Virgin Mary In Art, Photos, Pictures, Images of The Virgin Mary { 71 images } Created 31 Mar 2012

Pictures, images & photos of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is the most pictorially represented person in Orthodox & catholic churches. Images of the Madonna can be found in the Catacombs in Rome and in the Eastern Church, where she was often called "Theotokos" meaning "Mother of God". Early Orthodox Icons Icons such as the Virgin Hodegetaria, brought back from the Holy Land by Empress Eudocia (408-450), were thought to be so important whole monasteries were built to house them. Copies of Icons like the Virgin Hodegetaria became the templates of copies that fixed how the Madonna was pictured until the Renaissance.

The Virgin Hodegetria shows the Madonna, young & beautiful, standing with her right hand open and the Baby Jesus sitting in her right hand. The Bay Jesus often turns towards the viewer or raises his hand in benediction. The Madonna is looking straight out of the icon connecting directly with the viewer. This gives the image a powerful connection with the Madonna and then to Chris her son. One of the reasons the Madonna became a primary image for Christians was the belief that she could intercede directly with Christ and therefore was the focus of many prayers and offerings. There are few full length versions of the Virgin Hodegetria but this image was still popular as half-length paintings of the Madonna and Child which are common in Italian Renaissance painting, particularly in Venice.

From the Hodegetria developed the Panagia Eleousa (Virgin of Tender Mercy), where Mary still indicates Christ, but he is nuzzling her cheek, which she slightly inclines towards him.

The Madonna enthroned with the Baby Jesus on her left knee or lap is a type of image that dates from the Byzantine period and was used widely in Medieval and Renaissance times.

In the 15th century in Florence a seated Madonna was developed which was more informal, maternal and natural following the Humanists style of the time that led to the great works of the Renaissance. The depiction of the Madonna in Orthodoxy has changed little because of its rules about idolatrous depictions that limits its religious art to two dimensions and to strict rules. On the other hand the Roman Catholic church rejected the rigid Orthodox rules and embraced the writings and art of the classical world which ironically were based in Pagan beliefs. On a wave of great building projects which were decorated by the greatest artists of the time the Roman Catholic church pushed the boundaries of Religious art with an explosion of frescoes, paintings and sculpture including Christ, dead, lying across her lap as in Michael Angelo's Vatican sculpture.

The Madonna became such a potent symbol of the Roman Catholic church that it was banned along with all other religious depictions by the Reformation churches. Today images of the Madonna still denotes Catholicism around the world and is still a potent religious symbol.

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