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

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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St. Charles Borromeo, Patron of Learning and the Arts

In our house, getting the right sleep temperature is a challenge.  We have baseboard heating, and the master bedroom is warmer than the rest of the house.  Adjusting for comfortable sleep requires at least an associate’s degree:  If sleeping alone, slide under sheet, down comforter, and quilted spread.  If toasty-warm husband is in room, turn down quilted spread.  If company is in the house and door is closed, turn down quilted spread and down comforter, sleep under top sheet only, and turn on ce … [Read more...]

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Michelangelo’s David—and the World’s Worst Toilet

Some days one idea catapults into another, with the result that the sublime slams headlong into the ridiculous, producing a flaming nonsequitur of a blog post.  Today is one of those days.I read that on September 13, 1501, Michelangelo began carving what is perhaps his pièce de résistance, the 17-foot marble sculpture of David, the Renaissance ideal of perfect humanity.   And I remembered the day we saw [well, ALMOST saw] The Statue, and the day I saw The Toilet.We, eight of us, were on a loo … [Read more...]

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