… The human body is an absolute wonder. I find anatomical illustrations in old medical books as stunning to contemplate as the finest works of art. I’m awed by God’s attention to detail.
Speaking of the body as an example of God’s fine craftsmanship… the female body is miraculous in it’s ability to grow and nourish life.
Some of my favorite images of the Blessed Virgin are of her nursing the infant Christ. Coming from a deeply Southern evangelical background that only regarded Mary at Christmas, it was astonishingly difficult to allow myself affection for Her. In art, the Nursing Madonnas helped me make that motherly connection. Imagine my surprise to find the subject matter considered controversial.
Sexualization & Puritanism: The Maria Lactans art arguably causes controversy due to two major themes in the Western world. The first is the modern notion or obsession of sexuality, which views the body as a means to the end of gratification. The second is puritanism, which categorically eschews nudity. Both pivot on the same error – the inability to view the human body outside the scope of sexual gratification. A woman’s breast is a prime example… In contradistinction, the use of Mary’s breast in Maria Lactans stands as a sign of life, nourishment, and maternity.