This fascinating and groundbreaking book explores the way in which the canonical image of the Virgin Mary developed out of the Italian Renaissance. Faced with the naturalistic effects of pictorial space and light, the Church had to ensure the distinction of Mary as being both the human mother of Christ and a doctrinal symbol in her own right. The intentions of patrons, artistic practice and operating circumstances all contributed to mark out this duality, and create the 'sacred distance' of Mary from the rest of humankind.
Marian iconography has its own history, and the introduction discusses the visual tradition of the middle ages which shaped Marian iconography at the beginning of the 14th century. The book then deals with the doctrinal issues relating to the Virgin: Mary as Theotokos, Mary Annunciate, Mary as Queen of Heaven and Mary as the Immaculate Conception. A concluding chapter discusses the power of this image as a visual symbol.
The book therefore discusses the various possible interpretations of Marian iconography in an attempt to understand an image, and the dangers of making assumptions about artistic intention and audience response. It should be of interest to anyone who is curious about the life of an image and its inherent power.
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Rosemary Muir Wright is Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of St. Andrew's.
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Book Description Manchester University Press, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0719055458