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Like mother’s love

Posted June. 08, 2023 09:08,   

Updated June. 08, 2023 09:08


Italian Renaissance painter Raphael created the style of depicting the Holy family. At the same time, Sassoferrato, who was influenced by Raphael, left a mark in Christian art history by depicting the Virgin Mary on her own. One of his well-known paintings is The Virgin in Prayer (1640-1650, photo) at the National Gallery in London, the U.K.

Sassoferrato was born in the small town of Sassoferrato in Marche, Italy. His real name was Giovanni Battista Salvi, but he went by the name of Sassoferrato. From the age of 21, he created altarpieces for cathedrals, particularly popular with portraits of the Virgin Mary. At that time, Mary was idealized in paintings as the mother of Christ. She should not be depicted as an ordinary woman. However, in the painting, Sassoferrato depicts Mary praying in the dark. Her flawless skin, gentle gaze, folded hands, elegant attire, and posture created a devoted and ideal feminine image.

When one stands before this life-sized painting, it seems as if the Holy Mother is praying in front of us. In contrast to the simple and dark background, the painter depicts Mary’s attire in a realistic way that stands out. Colors were restricted to white, red, and blue. The blue, which reflects light, grabs our attention. The color ultra-marine had been one of the greatest and most precious pigments. Lazurite was imported from Afghanistan and grated to create a very popular color with artists for its clarity. Since it was so expensive, it was used selectively in the most important sections of the painting.

Ultramarine can be perpetual if it is properly preserved. Just as values such as faith, obedience, devotion, and love are eternal, the Virgin Mary is ceaselessly praying for us with her back in the dark. Vividly as ultramarine and pure as mother’s love. Perhaps this is the reason why this 17th-century painting is still loved and coveted today.