Art Exhibit in Honor of Our Lady

Cardinal Sodano Inaugurates Event at Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2005 ( An exhibition of 104 artworks depicting the Blessed Virgin aims to help the faithful grasp more fully the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

The exhibition, entitled «A Woman Clothed with the Sun: The Immaculate Conception in the Works of the Great Masters,» opened Saturday, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, in the Charlemagne Wing of St. Peter’s Square. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano inaugurated the event.

Leonardo, Tiepolo, Pinturicchio, El Greco and Murillo are some of the artists exhibited, thanks to the initiative of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Goods of the Church.

These works were conceived «to express the faith, before which the faithful pray; therefore, they are not only artistic riches but also spiritual, more than that, I would say that it is spiritual wealth magnificently illustrated in the artistic plane,» said Bishop Mauro Piacenza, president of the pontifical commission, as reported by Vatican Radio.

The exposition follows a chronological and thematic order in six sections, among them «The Woman of the Apocalypse,» «The Controversy over the Immaculate Conception,» and a section dedicated to the symbolic iconography of the «Tota Pulchra,» according to Giovanni Morello, who is responsible for the exposition.

Another section exhibits «what we might describe as an art gallery which includes the triumph of the Immaculate Conception with authors like Murillo, Guercino, Luca Giordana and Pietro Novelli,» he added.

The exhibition comprises paintings, engravings, liturgical ornamentation, sculptures and canvases, of European artists dating to the 12th century.

Giovanni Morello explained that the image of the Immaculate Conception began to be represented by taking the symbols of Scripture, in the song of Genesis 3:15 and in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation.

«It was the Spanish masters in the 16th century, with the support of the later Italian artists, who gave shape to an iconography on the Immaculate Conception as we know it today," he said, «a Virgin looking up to heaven, clothed in white with a blue mantle and with the moon at her feet.»

The exhibition continues until May 13, feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

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