The Many Faces of the Virgin Mary in Italian Painting with Vannella Carrelli Palombi

The Many Faces of the Virgin Mary in Italian Painting with Vannella Carrelli Palombi


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The face of the Virgin Mary is both hugely popular and largely inaccessible. As we gaze upon her face are we looking at a prophet or a disciple? A mother or a Queen? This seminar will explore the possible interpretations that we can reach as we analyze a select group of artists and their portrayals of this well-known, but widely disparate image.

Since her first appearance in the world of the image, the Virgin Mary has been looked at threefold: as a distant Queen, as a prophet, or lastly, as a tender mother. When the institutional church announced a stated dogma, following years of councils disputes, the Virgin Mary acquired the role of the "most elected mother" of God. We’ll discuss this double interpretation as we discuss beautiful narrative images or synthetic icons. Together, we’ll recognize how deeply she has answered to the common calling of human beings: be loved totally and love the same way.

This interpretation undoes any dualism and makes her a model of beauty, not only the mathematically calculated one of the greek ancient models but also the one deriving from an inner sense of unity. We’ll learn how distance and proximity are the two directions of her behavior and life in the relationship with her son. Let’s not forget that this son is also God's son: the two directions characterize any human life in her desire to be loved and therefore "vacated", but also in a constant need of distance and freedom.

We’ll discuss how a selected group of Italian artists (such as Giotto, Martini, Mantegna, Bellini, and Piero della Francesca) transmitted this double attitude of a constantly doubting, very human Maria and at the same time a monumental figure. These artists allow for the Virgin Mary to touch viewers’ hearts more than others and will be the predominant focus of our lecture. Led by Vannella Carrelli Palombi, an expert in ancient and modern European art history, this interactive seminar will try to increase our appreciation for the face of the Virgin Mary. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a better understanding (and reading) of her image and grasp of her identity.

Vannella earned her Master's in art history from the Sapienza University of Rome, with a special focus on teaching. She is an accomplished lecturer and teacher, and has been organizing on-site learning and tours in Rome for nearly thirty years. Vannella is an official guide for the Vatican Museums and has worked in such Roman museums as the Borghese Gallery, Castel S. Angelo, Galleria Colonna, and Galleria Doria Pamphili.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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The Power of Marian Art
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J.P.
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M.A.
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E.T.
Spectacular

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
100%
(9)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
I
I.
P
P.N.
The Power of Marian Art
J
J.P.
M
M.A.
E
E.T.
Spectacular