HAIL, MARY, FULL OF GRACE: A New Look at the Annunciation

On March 25—exactly nine months before Christmas—the Catholic Church commemorates the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish girl and told her that God would like her to be the mother of the Savior.  “How can this be,” Mary responded, “since I know not man?”Contemporary artist John Collier tells the story of the Annunciation in a fresh way in this painting, which can be found in the narthex of St. Gabriel Catholic Church in McKinney, Texas.In Collier’s “Annunciati … [Read more...]

The Exaltation of the Cross

On September 14, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Cross.This picture, the Exaltation of the Cross, is taken from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry)—the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century.Dating back to around 1410 A.D., the richly decorated book contains prayers to be said at each of the canonical hours of the day.  There are 416 pages in all, with 131 large miniatures as well as elaborately dec … [Read more...]

Two Mary’s! Giotto’s “Birth of the Virgin” Raises an Interesting Question

Birth of the Virgin by Giotto

September 8 is the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary-- and I've got a question for you:  WHY are there two babies in this picture?This painting, titled “Birth of the Virgin,” is by the Renaissance artist Giotto di Bondone (better known simply as “Giotto.”)  It’s one of a fresco cycle on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.Giotto’s work can be seen in the basilica at Assisi and in the campanile (bell tower) of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of St. Mary of the Flower … [Read more...]


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