Maybe it's because of my name, but I photograph nearly every Madonna I see, which, in Tuscany, makes for a large and wide-ranging portfolio! I was impressed with each one, and they are clearly still revered. No matter how battered by time and the elements the shrine or fresco might be, she is typically graced by a small bouquet of fresh flowers.
This is one of my favorite images, which I found in a small Tuscan hilltown street. In her sorrow Mary is pierced with swords -- a detail mirrored by the ironwork on the door to the right, and the cactus-like plant underneath. I love the worn texture and color of the white surrounds and the wall behind her -- it is a symphony of neutrals. Corners are important in a photo -- the black rectangle in the lower left grounds the image and keeps the eye circling within the image rather than running off the page. On the right side, even though the arch line is broken, the ironwork leads the eye down into a satisfying delectation of the worn wood door. The composition is perhaps a bit eccentric, but I think it works.
According to some research I googled,
"Mater Dolorosa is shown as the mourning mother, expressing her sorrows after the crucifixion of Christ. Mary may be crowned with thorns, but generally she is standing with her hands folded and tears streaming down her face. She is rarely adorned with jewelry and may have one to seven swords piercing her heart. The swords allude to Luke 2:35, when upon presenting Christ in the temple, Mary was told a sword would pierce her heart. The text has been expanded to include the seven sorrows of Mary, hence the seven swords or daggers. Our Lady of Sorrows was invoked against worry, sorrow and pain, and at the hour of death."
The image is old but still very powerful.
All the images on my blog (and on my website) are for sale. They can be printed to any size, but a typical 11x14 in a 16x20 mat is $95.
To take your own powerful photos of roadside Madonnas, come to Tuscany with us this September! For more information, check out either www.maryannglass.com or www.arthistoryalive.com.