Sunday, 5 May 2013

Statues Of Our Lady...

There has been some discussion (and controversy) about a new statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in America. It got me thinking about images of Mary, particularly those based on apparitions.

2010 06 01_0261

It struck me that Our Lady always seems to appear in a manner which is not "strange" to the person watching. So, Our Lady was described as a young girl by St. Bernadette - a description better reflected in the mosaic in the Rosary Basilica than by the traditional statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady of Guadalupe looks more Mexican. Our Lady of China appears to be... well... Chinese.












I think that we can develop an attachment to a particular image of Our Lady (or group of images) based on what is most familiar to us, and anything which does not fit in with this can appear to be distasteful or even repugnant. I used to hate the mosaic of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Rosary Basilica because the proportions seemed all "wrong" somehow, giving her a creepy expression. One day I was struck by the realisation that the face was indeed all wrong - for a grown woman, that is - but actually spot on for a 12 year-old girl. Now I have become rather attached to the mosaic image.

The statue which has caused the upset is Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin...


Not my favourite statue... but I can see where it is coming from - the apparition of Our Lady of Good Help to Adele Brise in Wisconsin in 1859...


Having said that, I think that there is a much worse example - the statue of Our Lady currently in Ely Cathedral...

8 comments:

Matthew Roth said...

Our Lady in Ely Cathedral is awful: she should not be nearly that voluptuous, in my opinion, and she looks like a) a liturgical dancer or b) a rock groupie.

Suzanne Carl said...

I admit I laughed at the picture of Our Lady in Ely Cathedral. She should be renamed to represent Our Lady of Copacabana, the Barry Manilo version, except the original Lady of Copacabana is very beautiful:

http://www.marypages.com/LadyCopacabana.htm

john-of-hayling said...

Xena Warrior Princess aka Boadica

lucieromarin said...

Is it just me, or does the first image look like Cate Blanchett as Galadriel?

Dymphna said...

It's an ugly statue but the work by this artisan company is always bad. Their faces are empty, and the bodies are stumpy and out of proportion.

Recusant said...

Actually I think that might be She-Ra, Princess of Power. That is what happens when you forget someone is your Mother.

Anita Moore said...

The Ely statue is indeed very ugly, and violates all the conventions for depicting Mary. There ARE conventions for depicting Mary and the saints. Part of the purpose is so that the images may be correctly identified; part is to show forth the virtues for which those persons are eminent.

But hands down, the most hideous statue of Mary is the one at the entrance to that temple to modernism, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California:

http://www.eyeofthetiber.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/MARY.jpg

Mulier Fortis said...

Yes, Anita... No doubt about it. You win hands down!

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